School Districts Explore New Forms of Teacher Evaluations in 2017

In New York City, school officials are launching new teacher evaluations that place a higher priority on students’ classroom work over test scores. Meanwhile, the Connecticut State Board of Education is debating whether to delay a proposal that would require teachers to be evaluated based partly on student test scores.

Similar scenarios are playing out nationally as school districts set out to improve the teacher evaluation process, and, as a result, the overall educational process.

While some aspects of teacher evaluations will evolve, there are core components that should be integral to the process, as many human relations experts point out.

Provide regular feedback. Annual employee reviews, overall, are inadequate in giving employees the feedback they need to improve performance. According to a recent survey by Human Resource Executive (HRE), the most effective updates to employee evaluations are increasing the quality and frequency of feedback.

HRE’s research revealed that 77 percent of HR executives said that their top priority in improving evaluations is to encourage more frequent conversations. Instead of annual reviews, the preference is for weekly or monthly conversations.

Make it a collaborative process. Ensuring that employees feel invested in the evaluation process is critical to its success. Give teachers the opportunity to give their input on how they think they’re performing. It’s also critical that teachers are involved in discussing the solutions that are being proposed, whether classes, peer mentorship, or workshops.

Allow for timely access of the evaluation. Even with a short 30-minute to 45-minute conversation, details can get lost. Empower your team by using technology to capture highlights of the review, including areas that need to be improved and metrics indicating progress.

Technology can improve the process. Employee evaluation apps allow for real-time feedback and updates, according to recent studies.

These apps are “more continuous, more forward-looking and truly focuses on performance,” said Amy Wilson, a vice president for Workday, in an article for SHRM Online.