Klea Scharberg

A Progress Report on Teacher Evaluation

In the past three years, 36 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have changed their teacher evaluation policies, mainly to qualify for federal Race to the Top funds or No Child Left Behind waivers. States are drafting, implementing, and using new systems that incorporate measures of student achievement, levels of performance, classroom observations, and performance-based tenure decisions. All these elements must come together to produce results relevant to the improvement of teaching and the development of teachers themselves.

Is your state (and school) going through these changes? ASCD has been working with a coalition of organizations on a set of recommendations for federal policymakers on this issue. Use these recommendations as a checklist to ensure that your teacher-evaluation system is on track for continued growth and learning for both teachers and students.

Do the teacher evaluations—either currently in place or being implemented—at your school

  • Include student achievement measures that are directly attributable to the individual teacher's subject area in a manner that clearly reflects the teacher's contributions to students' learning?
  • Rely on evaluation instruments that accurately reflect the achievements being measured? (These instruments should be used by individuals with sufficient expertise to accurately observe and interpret the outcomes under measurement.)
  • Show that they are based on curricula that are taught under model national, state, and local standards, using clear criteria made available to the teacher in advance?
  • Take into account the number of students taught and the instruction time available?
  • Capture all levels of achievement from the beginning level of knowledge, skill, and ability from which growth is expected to take place, to the very highest levels of mastery?
  • Reflect a multiyear cycle to allow for appropriate professional development and growth?
  • Inform instructional improvement and professional growth to help teachers improve their service to students?

Changing professional practice is rarely easy. Open a dialogue with your peers and school leaders about the fairness and effectiveness of your teacher evaluation policy. Determine who has the authority to make changes to the policy, such as the local school board or coalition, and show why there is a need for improvement or a lack of resources. Make the case for what you need to effectively teach and develop within the profession.

In November, we looked at the current teacher evaluation landscape. Listen to the Whole Child Podcast with guests Mike Blakeslee, deputy executive director and chief operating officer of the National Association for Music Education, a whole child partner organization and member of ASCD's College, Career, and Citizenship Readiness Coalition; Bryan Goodwin, vice president of communications at McREL, based in Denver, Colo.; and Cindy Weber, superintendent of Durand Area Schools in Durand, Mich. Read this blog to hear from guest bloggers and experts on evaluation that produces results that truly benefit students, schools, and educators.

Have you signed up to receive the Whole Child Newsletter? Read this month's newsletter and visit the archive for more strategies, resources, and tools you can use to help ensure that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

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