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James H. Stronge

What’s Wrong with Teacher Evaluation and How to Fix It: One Size Fits All

Teachers matter. They have an extraordinary, positive, and lasting effect on their students. Students with high-performing teachers can progress three times as fast as students with low-performing teachers, and each student deserves access to highly effective teachers in every subject.

So, how do we know which teachers are effective? All teachers deserve a fair and accurate assessment of their skills, how they perform in the classroom, and how they can improve. Teacher effectiveness is dependent on these accurate and fair evaluations that are based on multiple measures, including—but not solely based on—their students' performance in the subjects they teach.

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James H. Stronge

What’s Wrong with Teacher Evaluation and How to Fix It: Osmosis

Unfortunately, and despite what appears to be a concerted effort across the last several decades, the assumption that a picture of educator skill and practice can be gained through observation alone simply doesn't work. In the final analysis, this simplistic approach to teacher evaluation most certainly results in neither teacher improvement nor increased accountability. Teachers don't value or trust their own evaluation, administrators view it as merely one more bureaucratic hurdle to check off, and it has no credibility with parents and other stakeholders.

So, what can we do about the abysmal state of teacher evaluation? Firstly, we need to recognize what's wrong, and secondly, we need to fix it. In the first post in this series, I discussed how observation does not equal evaluation. Today's post is about purposeful, data-driven evaluation.

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James H. Stronge

What’s Wrong with Teacher Evaluation and How to Fix It: Observation Equals Evaluation

So, where do we begin?

Teacher evaluation, throughout most of our recent history, has been practiced religiously with the intent—or, at least, hope—that it will improve performance. The assumption underlying much of teacher evaluation practice goes something like this:


Teacher Observation = Teacher Evaluation = Teacher Improvement


We know that this system does not work. A picture of educator skill and practice cannot be gained through observation alone, and not all evaluation processes promote professional growth and affect student achievement. In this series of blog posts, I attempt to offer an analysis of three contemporary teacher evaluation practices within a problem/solution framework.

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