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As we come upon the last month of the school year, summative finalizations are rapidly approaching. Evaluation time is one of the hardest things in an administrator’s professional life. However, with some preparation, summative finalization time can be a low-stress and rewarding time for both the evaluator and the person being evaluated.  If we want teacher evaluation systems that teachers find meaningful and from which they can learn, we must use processes that not only are rigorous, valid, and reliable, but also engage teachers in those activities that promote learning—namely self-assessment, reflection on practice, and professional conversation. A meaningful staff summative finalization can lead to those three things.

Setting the Tone for Conversation

Really, it’s about the conversation! Abundant evidence from both informal and formal observations, including artifacts as evidence of proficiency, lead to a meaningful evaluation, and help produce the goal of quality assurance. But they are also a vehicle for teacher growth by providing opportunities for professional conversation around the standards.

The best summative evaluation flows from open-ended questions such as these:

  1. How do you think you did this year?
  2. What was your greatest success this year and what led to that success?
  3. What was your greatest challenge and how did you deal with it?
  4. What will you change for next year?
  5. What goals do you have for next year to improve your teacher quality?

Planning Ahead for Summative Finalizations

Following the completion of the summative evaluation, administrators will initiate a professional growth and planning conference with the teacher, not only to review the evaluation, but also to establish professional growth goals and plans. This should be a plan developed cooperatively between the teacher and administrator, based upon analysis of the data gathered for the finalization, as well as any other informal data the administrator or teacher wishes to share. From there, as a plan for the new year develops, it becomes very apparent why there is a need for meaningful staff evaluations.

Tammy Brothers, Standard For Success Director of Sales and Training, joined SFS after having spent 15 years teaching and 21 years as Director of Professional Development and Student Programs at an Educational Service Center. Tammy has her undergraduate degree from Indiana State University and a Master’s of Education from DePauw University, and is a certified evaluation trainer and teacher evaluator.

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