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In the quest to develop and revamp your teacher evaluations, don’t lose sight of the qualities that make the process incredibly effective tools in encouraging improved employee performance.

While schools systems may be tempted to dump traditional employee evaluations, as some major corporations have, there are plenty of reasons they still have incredible value. As you work on your teacher evaluations, keep the following three invaluable traits in mind. They could be just the thing to keep your team on common ground as you debate the role of rankings, merit raises, or using student test scores in outcomes.

  1. An opportunity to have meaningful, productive conversations. Hectic work schedules are the norm, particularly in most educational environments. Consider employee evaluations as the key tool to put on the brakes and have insightful conversations with teachers about their progress against previous goals, what type of input the teacher needs from you or training, and other constructive steps on how to improve their overall performance. These conversations should not happen just once a year; schedule them at several intervals.
  1. Time for self-evaluations. As with anything in life, it’s easy to stay on cruise control without taking the time out for self-assessments. Give teachers the opportunity to do that by providing guided questionnaires that help them evaluate their performance independently. Provide specific metrics that help them define how they’re performing well, and which areas are in need of improvement.
  1. Insights from peers. In many cases, more experienced teachers can provide more guidance to novice teachers than they would receive from principals. Mentors can help teachers by showing them firsthand how to handle issues in the classroom, seek training opportunities, work on various aspects of their development — all based on first-hand experience. As these models have revealed, mentorships can benefit the mentors as well.

As your team performs teacher evaluations, you’ll realize that there is part of the employee evaluation process that’s definitely worth dumping — the paperwork. Upgrade to a digital solution that makes it easier to keep track of conversations, progress, training and other data gathered during teacher evaluations.

By keeping records in a digital format, you also will be to have a platform that’s easy to access for more frequent reviews.

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