The following is an excerpt from Chapter 18: “Finalizations” of Dr. Dianna Whitlock’s published book, “Teacher Evaluation as a Growth Process.” To purchase the full book, visit Amazon or Barnes&Noble.
Part 3, Chapter 18: Finalizations
With data collected, conferences conducted, and feedback given throughout the year, the time will come for the administrator to make a judgement based upon evidence, or a finalization. The finalization is the analysis of all data to assign a final rating, or ranking, for an individual teacher. This final ranking is usually assigned by the building administrator, using data from not only their observations, but all secondary evaluators who have gathered observational data.
It is crucial to realize that in many cases, this final rating score is all that district level administrators, school board members, and state legislative bodies see in regard to teacher evaluation. Therefore, it is vital that administrators are encompassing all collected data when assigning this final score. While we encourage all parties involved in teacher evaluation to drill down the data and analyze the specific areas of strengths and challenges of teachers, this is often not a required reporting component.
An average, or a progression?
When working with schools on their evaluation process, I often am asked if our evaluation platform will average the data, giving the administrator a final number, and therefore eliminating even more guesswork or subjectivity. At first examination, this seems like a perfect solution. But upon closer examination, this may not be what we want to support a culture of growth. Let’s look at a hypothetical example of assigning finalizations.
A school has conducted all observations, approved artifacts, conducted pre and post conferences, set goals for teacher professional development, and is now ready to assign teachers a final number reflective of their yearly performance. Principal Sky, who is the primary evaluator, has ensured that all observational data has been entered into the management system, and as a result has a numerical average for each teacher. Principal Sky sits down after school one afternoon to look at the ratings for two of his struggling teachers, Miss Sunshine and Mr. Moon, who have both received an average score of 2, placing them in the Improvement Needed category, per the district’s rubric.
Upon closer examination, Principal Sky finds that observations for Miss Sunshine have been marked consistently by multiple evaluators as mostly 2’s throughout the year. Miss Sunshine has also not submitted many artifacts supporting her professional development or growth throughout the year. For these reasons, Principal Sky feels that her average rating is fair and reflective of a rating of Improvement Needed for a final rating, represented by a 2.
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