In Seven Ways to Make Improving Teacher Evaluation Worth the Work, a piece written by Nicole Gerber form the National Council on Teacher Quality, list 7 key ideas that will improve teacher evaluation and therefore have the potential to drive teacher and student improvement. She indicates that according to research study, it is important to adhere to research-based principles to make the process work. She then goes on to spotlight seven key principles in the teacher evaluation process.
The first is Measure what matters, looking at multiple and frequent measures of teacher performance. It is important that teachers are evaluated using both objective and subjective measures. The first measure is to evaluate all teacher no matter tenure status each year to provide the regular feedback that is important to growth. The evaluation process needs to use multiple measures of performance. This will result in higher efficacy and reliability. Another important step is to monitor how the process is working and seek input from both administrators and teachers to make the process better.
The second key principle it to pay attention to who is doing the evaluating. It is important for teacher to know that those people evaluating them have been trained on the rubric and in doing observations, have experience in the classroom setting and are familiar with the content being taught. Another concept in this area is using peer observers who have the experience in the classroom and vast knowledge and expertise in the subject being taught.
Another way to improve the process is by using video observations. Teacher can record their lessons and then meet with the administrator to go over the lesson. This helps with the how much time the administrator must spend on evaluations and allows for immediate and effective feedback.
It is also important to address bias in the system. The way to do this is to include multiple measures of performance in teachers’ evaluation scores, adjusting scores to account for student characteristics and requiring multiple observations by different observers.
Next make sure that results of observations and evaluation are tied to the teacher’s professional development. Professional development needs to be in areas from the observations that will allow the teacher to improve rather than the teacher choosing what they feel like they need improvement in.
The sixth factor is to pay great teachers more. It is important that great teachers are paid in a manner that enables them to want to continue teaching. It is also important to set up a performance pay system to keep those teachers in the field.
Finally use teacher evaluation data to support those teachers that are struggling and use it to inform decisions about layoffs and dismissals. While it is important to help struggling teachers with support and professional development to help them improve, it is also important to remember that students who are in the struggling teachers’ classes are the ones that will be paying the price. It is important for the districts to replace those teachers that are struggling with teachers that will improve student learning.
Teacher evaluation systems should be designed to help all teachers strengthen their classroom teaching skills, become more effective, and stay in the classroom. This will take significant amount time and could add cost, but in the long run will pay off for both the teachers and students well worth the time cost.