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With the national debate about how to best evaluate teachers continuing to rage on, there’s no reason to avoid fine-tuning the process. Employee evaluations, whether in the corporate world or in elementary schools, are essential tools for improving performance.

Whether you’re for or against incorporating student test scores in teacher evaluations, these are essential components for the process.

Include Teacher Participation

Teachers should be able to provide meaningful feedback through the use of task forces, surveys, teacher-led communities, and other forms. This allows for the collaboration of teachers and observers. The state of Colorado provides teachers with a self assessment they can fill out and then view side-by-side with the evaluator’s feedback. This gives teachers the power to own their evaluation results. Instead of simply receiving feedback from an evaluator, teachers are empowered to be involved in the decision-making process of how to make their professional practice better.

Encourage Growth Rather than Punishment

It is important to train evaluators and principals to offer valuable and useful feedback, not just exact ratings. Feedback and support from evaluators should be defined by each teacher’s level of experience and past evaluation results. In Massachusetts, observations are performed more often for less experienced teachers. These teachers collaborate with their evaluators in setting goals and are able to learn while working without fear of punishment. Promoting an environment of growth encourages success for teachers and students.

Evaluate on Various Efforts

It can be challenging to base teacher evaluations solely on student success. Numerous school systems base teacher evaluations on a comprehensive system that’s not limited to student success. These can include peer reviews, new initiatives or training completely successfully by the teacher, and frequent observations.

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