Done correctly and consistently, a robust evaluation process can be an incredible tool to not only measure teacher effectiveness, but also to drive progress and performance. In other words, teacher evaluations aren’t merely a way to “give educators a grade” on their teaching methods. High quality evaluations should also be a useful guide and support system for teachers, directing their professional development. Too often administrators and educators allow the challenges of evaluation to stand in the way of the potential benefits, making evaluation a chore instead of a mutually-beneficial process.
The Top 3 Challenges of Evaluation AND the Solutions
What are some of the common challenges that educators and administrators face? Some are the natural challenges that come with giving feedback, such as the logistics of how to conduct the feedback, how to track it, and how to follow up to ensure improvement. Other challenges are more specific to education. For example, how do you use student testing as an evaluation measure when all students have different capabilities and learning styles? How do you ensure an even playing field from teacher to teacher?
However, in my experience, there are commonalities among the top challenges within evaluations. These are the top three evaluation challenges that educators face:
The Challenge: Ensuring the Validity & Equity of the Evaluation
One of the biggest complaints about evaluation is how difficult it is to account for the human element. What if the evaluator is having a bad day? What if the teacher or the students are having a bad day? How can you evaluate a teacher who works with at-risk students by the same yardstick as a teacher who works with gifted and AP students? What about teachers and administrators who have personality differences?
While it’s true that all of these concerns are legitimate, they aren’t reasons to neglect evaluation altogether — and they can be overcome with the right tools and the right approach.
The Solution: Implementing Rubrics and VAMs
Just like teachers often use rubrics to ensure more equitable grading among students, evaluators use rubrics to ensure that they are treating educators fairly. Standard for Success Evaluation software comes with dozens of pre-loaded, state-approved rubrics as well as customizable rubrics that allow administrators to better meet the needs of their schools.
In addition, the Evaluation software is able to use VAMs (Value-Added Measures) when available to make sure that teachers are being evaluated by their contributions to student progress, not raw student ability.
The Challenge: Maintaining Teacher Privacy
No one likes to have their failures or shortcomings announced to the world, and teachers are no different. To be effective and motivating, teacher evaluations should be honest about teacher performance, but also supportive and private.
Filling out paper evaluation forms and delivering them to the teacher’s mailbox by way of administrative assistants and even student aides is the opposite of helpful or private.
The Solution: Individual Logins with Permissions
Instead, imagine a centralized portal that allows you to make your evaluation notes in real-time on your mobile device, and teachers can login later that same day (not two weeks later) to see their customized, private feedback.
Our Evaluation software enables individual logins, so teachers can access your feedback quickly and securely. This centralized data collection also addresses the third and most common evaluation challenge.
The Challenge: Lack of Feedback, Collaboration, and Follow-Up
By far the biggest challenge of evaluation is figuring out how to use teacher evaluations to enhance a collaborative teaching environment, challenge and support teachers, and encourage ongoing feedback and professional development.
When paper evaluations take weeks to get back to educators and then there’s no follow-up, it’s difficult to see the exercise as anything more than a “gotcha” or a checkbox. This makes it all but certain that busy teachers will neglect those suggestions, which means administrators lack the transparency needed to notice improvement or negative trends.
The Solution: A Centralized Platform for Data Storage and Ongoing, Integrated Professional Development
By keeping all evaluation data in one secure location, SFS Evaluation software enables administrators and teachers to track their improvement over time, make collaborative comments in real-time, and easily work together toward common goals.
Even better, our software includes integrated professional development and training opportunities to help teachers where they need it most. Connecting feedback to ongoing professional development is the best way to turn evaluation into a powerful, effective tool for teacher improvement.
The Standard for Success Evaluation software was designed by teachers, for teachers, to make evaluation a more collaborative and beneficial process.
Request a Demo today to see how you can overcome the inherent challenges of the evaluation process, simplify your time management, and help guide your school to better outcomes for all.