Teacher Evaluation – Let’s Just Forget It!

I am struggling with all this talk about teacher evaluation and I can’t help but think that all of this time and energy is being wasted on something that we will never come to agreement on.  Besides, with the primary focus of teacher evaluation more on standardized test scores than increasing the level of engagement in student learning opportunities can we really get where we want to go?

In my opinion, we need learner-centered environments where teachers and students are all considered learners. We need to develop a community of learners where teachers are passionate about learning and sharing conversations with one another about what engaging learning environments.

While I agree that moving our public education system forward is a daunting task, I don’t think that evaluating teachers is the way to get there. I think its just another example of something done to someone and I think it immediately puts those involved into a defensive posture where constructive outcomes are not the norm.

Instead, we need to spend more time looking at environments where innovative thinking and creativity are fostered.  If these are the things that we value for our students then we need to offer the same opportunities for our teachers.  We need to think outside the box on this one because I sincerely believe that the models that I am seeing are time-consuming procedures that do nothing to improve learning.

I think we need to look at walkthrough models where teachers collectively gather data on the qualities of engaging classrooms in their own schools. We need to encourage reflection by all learners (including teachers).  After decades of proof that teacher evaluation does not improve teaching and/or learning it might be time to try something different? Seriously!

photo via academyofstgeorge.org/

What do you think?

Comments

  1. Patrick, You are right in that we will never agree on a standard way to evaluate teachers.  Just like teaching and learning, there are multiple ways the evaluate effectively.  I think teacher evaluation models need to evolve into relective staff discussions on improving learning environments.  Is the teacher-administrator model of evaluation really the best way to foster professional growth?  We are smarter together.  I think teachers helping teachers by sharing best practices and observing each other has a much better possibility of improving the learning environments than tying teacher performance to test scores.  How teachers use assessment to inform teaching methods and curriculum decisions should be considered more in an evaluation than the actual scores themselves.  Thanks for pushing our thinking! 

  2. You’re right about evaluations.  Plus, they don’t involve input from colleagues.  We’re using some great walkthrough tools in our district that I plan to write about in my next blog entry.  Would be interested to see what you guys are using.  

  3. Stephanie

    Hello Daniel!

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  4. Carol Broos

    The teacher evaluations in Illinois will follow the Charlotte Danielson model, which includes much more than a simple evaluation. http://charlottedanielson.com/theframeteach.htm  Itfosters innovation and creativity.

    Additionally, “walkthrough” models are part of the entire evaluation. Only 20-25% of the teacher’s evaluation would be “value added,” meaning testing. The tests fall in three categories:  Level 1 – scantron or outside graded tests, such as MAP testing. Level 2 – District-generated tests. Level 3 – teacher-generated tests. If teachers cannot show growth in the classroom on ANY of these levels they should not be in the classroom. This is a small part of the entire evaluation.  State tests should and will not be part of the evaluation, since they were not intended to grade teachers. This was discussed at ISBE (Illinois School Board of Education) on Friday, November 18, 2011 http://www.isbe.state.il.us/peac/There has been much in the news that the “value added” measures would be the ENTIRE evaluation, that is not true. 

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