How Should Teachers be Evaluated?

by James Green

In thinking about and reviewing writings on teacher evaluations, I feel that the best word to use in regards to this is process is fair. I think if teacher evaluations are done in a fair manner that they will be helpful for teachers and their administrators. In my time student teaching, I always liked to get feedback from my mentor that was timely, honest, and actionable. I found that often times, I realized my mentor and myself had similar thoughts and feelings about a lesson I just taught. Getting feedback after a lesson that I could put to use for the next lesson I taught was always something that I appreciated.

I live in California, so I have been investigating California’s teacher evaluation system. I have found it to be flawed as I have read some negative reviews of it. It doesn’t seem very well thought out and the execution of the system seems to be lacking as well. The current system doesn’t even require annual assessments of teachers. Some teachers (especially new teachers) may say “that’s great, I won’t have to worry about it then”. For me, as someone who is conscientious and someone who would value good, constructive feedback, that doesn’t sound good to me. Another negative about this system, is that it has an overly broad definition of classroom observation that makes it hard for a teacher to know exactly what will be observed as they teach. It goes back to my fairness comment earlier. Every teacher should know exactly what will be observed so they will know how to prepare for the observation. Another thing is that often times, only teachers that have been given a bottom tier rating receive targeted development. The good thing for me, is that when I get hired I will take part in a different, mandatory 2 year beginning teacher support and assessment program seperate from this evaluation system. Another issue is that California’s teacher evaluation system lacks proper funding.

It seems Ohio’s teacher evaluation system is well structured. I like how half of it is based on teacher’s performance on standards and the other half is based on student growth. I even like the wording of their rating system (Accomplished, skilled, developing, ineffective). Only the ineffective rating has a negative connotation to it. I also like how the structure of the evaluation is very well layed out so everyone will be on the same page. It clearly lists the sequence of events that will take place. That would be very helpful for a teacher. Again, it gets back to fairness.

As far as myself, I would like to evaluated holistically. Meaning, I wouldn’t want to be evaluated on just one thing. I think a number of factors are important. These include classroom management, lessons (structure and execution), student engagement level, student growth over time, how effectively I work with colleagues, and personal growth over time. I think when a number of factors like these are taken into account, it would result in a fair evaluation. I also like how the Ohio system clearly spells out the timing of the evaluation and pre and post evaluation meetings. To me, the key is evaluating me in a manner that can help me become a better teacher as I progress through my teaching career.

 

References:

(2015-2016) http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Teaching/Educator-Evaluation-System/Ohio-s-Teacher-Evaluation-System/OTES-Original-Framework-Graphic112015.pdf.aspx. Retrieved June 25, 2016.

Weinstein, T. (July 7, 2015) https://studentsfirst.org/california/blog-entry/one-step-forward-two-steps-back-state-teacher-evaluations-california. Retrieved June 25, 2016

(2016) https://www.cta.org/en/Issues-and-Action/Teacher-Quality/Teacher-Eval-FAQ.aspx. Retrieved June 25, 2016.

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