M6U4A3 Blog on Teacher Evaluations

Goals

  • State what kind of feedback I would like to receive from my mentor.
  • Analyze at least two approaches to teacher evaluations in schools.
  • Propose elements I think should be judged in teacher evaluations.

 

Mentor Feedback

I would like to receive feedback that is specific and corrective from my mentor.  For example, her feedback should focus on areas in which I am being effective and ineffective, and provide concrete examples of how I could be more effective [1].  I would also like her feedback to focus on my error patterns, rather than on specific errors[2].  In this way, I can be aware of and look out for certain types of errors I am making.

 

Approaches to Teacher Evaluations in Schools

One approach to teacher evaluation in schools is the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS).  “The Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) measures the impact schools and teachers have on their students’ academic progress”[3].  In other words, TVAAS measures student growth.  This is accomplished either by measuring their growth compared to their performance in previous years, or measuring their growth compared to peers (from previous years’ data) who had similar levels of performance as theirs in previous years.  It is a very complicated system, but translates into fairer assessment of how much a teacher has affected their students’ learning.  A criticism I have for this system is that the scores (e.g. 780, 220, etc.) are numbers that mean nothing to someone who is not familiar with the system.  I would prefer to see these numbers in percentage format.  Say, this student grew by 10% or 20%.  100% could be the figure for what is considered the maximum realistic potential growth of a student in a given year.  As such, it would theoretically be possible for a student to grow 110% or 200%, but this occurrence would be extremely rare and unlikely.

Office of. Assessment, Evaluation, & Research.

Source: http://slideplayer.com/slide/8048058/

 

Another approach to teacher evaluations in schools is the Ohio Department of Education’s Teacher Evaluation System[4].  This system also evaluates teacher performance through how much value they add to students.  Their Alternative Framework Model is my preferred teacher evaluation system because it not only is simple and clear, it incorporates various measures of performance (e.g. student surveys, peer assessment, student growth, etc.).  I love the transparency of this system as demonstrated in their relatively simple calculations that anyone can do.  I feel this is how a teacher evaluation system should be: simple, easy to understand, have clear inputs (measures) and be transparent.

Ohio Alternative Framework Graphic

Ohio Alternative Framework Measure Graphic

Ohio Alternative Framework Rating Calculation

 

Elements I think should be Included in Teacher Evaluation Systems

In my opinion, student surveys should always be included in teacher evaluations.  I came to this conclusion from watching the “Tough Young Teachers series”[5] that we studied in Teach-Now’s Module 4.  Some of the new teachers being tracked had no idea what they were doing wrong.  However, when the cameraman interviewed a few students from their class, the students were very clear and precise on what the teacher had been doing wrong – without being mean about it.  I was shocked to see how perceptive the students were and how simple it could be for a teacher to figure out what they are doing wrong so that they can then fix that by changing their behavior.  All the teachers had to do was ask their students.

Related to this point is the fact that if a teacher is good, their students should show this through their growth and progress.  As such, I think that a value-added component in any system of teacher evaluation is also essential.

I also believe that any teacher evaluation system should not be overly complex: simplicity is key.  In this regard, I like the Teacher Evaluation Smart Card presented by Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching[6].  This table or “smart card” covers many different important areas of teaching, without being overly cumbersome and complicated.  It strikes me as something that can be useful for a teacher to use on a regular basis.  Moreover, if a teacher is evaluated according to this table, they will receive meaningful feedback that they can then apply to improve their teaching.  After all, I believe that the purpose of teacher evaluation should not be to terminate the so-called “bad” teachers, but to get all teachers on the path to improving their teaching.

Danielson - Smart_Card_Color_20140819

 

Teacher Evaluations should Incorporate Meaningful Feedback and Research-Evidenced Techniques to Teach Teachers

If we as a profession believe that everyone can learn (even the most disadvantaged students), then we should extend this same comprehensiveness and assistance to teachers.  We should not hypocritically label a teacher as “a lost cause” without extensive justification and proof of failed remedial efforts.  Such remedial efforts should be consistent with the same research and evidence that we purport works for students.  If a teacher is doing something wrong, let us show them how to do it right (not just tell them or punish them for it in a draconian way).  Too often in the teaching profession we say: “teach this way”, “do this”, but no-one ever teaches teachers that way or does that for teachers.  Educational research demonstrates how all people learn, not just how children learn.  Most teachers want to be good or great teachers, but they just do not know how.  Teaching is a profession that most people enter because they care and want to make a difference.  I feel that we will have failed both our teachers and our students if we do not show the utmost level of care, support and patience to teachers and students alike.

 

References

Danielson, Charlotte.  (n.d.).  Framework for Teaching: Smart Card.  The Danielson Group.  Retrieved from https://www.danielsongroup.org/framework/

Glossary of Education Reform.  (n.d.).  Definition: Classroom Observation.  Retrieved from http://edglossary.org/classroom-observation/

Glossary of Education Reform.  (n.d.).  Definition: Demonstration of Learning.  Retrieved from http://edglossary.org/demonstration-of-learning/

International Baccalaureate Organization.  International Baccalaureate (I.B.) Diploma Programme (D.P.) Curriculum.  Retrieved from http://www.ibo.org/programmes/diploma-programme/curriculum/

Kamenetz, Anya.  (2015-01-22).  The Past, Present and Future of High-Stakes Testing and What Schools Could Use Instead of Standardized Tests.  Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/01/22/377438689/the-past-present-and-future-of-high-stakes-testing

MasterMinds, LLC.  (2001).  Effective Feedback is Specific, Positive and Corrective.  Retrieved from http://www.calhoun.k12.al.us/makes%20sense/Adobe%20Reader/DO%20NOT%20OPEN%20program%20files/Skill%20instruction/HOW%20to%20teach%20skills/During%20Tactics/SKILL%20Feedback.pdf

Ohio Department of Education.  (n.d.).  Teacher Evaluations.  Retrieved from http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Educator-Evaluation-System/Ohio-s-Teacher-Evaluation-System

Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) http://www.parcconline.org/

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.  Regents of the University of California.  Retrieved from http://www.SmarterBalanced.org/educators/

Tennessee Department of Education.  (n.d.).  Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS).  Retrieved from http://tn.gov/education/topic/tvaas

Tough Young Teachers.  (2015).  Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2.  BBC.  Teach First.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xq_mveIM8BM and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZtMB4vrr_4

[1]  MasterMinds, LLC.  (2001).  Effective Feedback is Specific, Positive and Corrective.  Retrieved from http://www.calhoun.k12.al.us/makes%20sense/Adobe%20Reader/DO%20NOT%20OPEN%20program%20files/Skill%20instruction/HOW%20to%20teach%20skills/During%20Tactics/SKILL%20Feedback.pdf

[2]  MasterMinds, LLC.  (2001).  Effective Feedback is Specific, Positive and Corrective.  Retrieved from http://www.calhoun.k12.al.us/makes%20sense/Adobe%20Reader/DO%20NOT%20OPEN%20program%20files/Skill%20instruction/HOW%20to%20teach%20skills/During%20Tactics/SKILL%20Feedback.pdf

[3]  Tennessee Department of Education.  (n.d.).  Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS).  Retrieved from http://tn.gov/education/topic/tvaas

[4]  Ohio Department of Education.  (n.d.).  Teacher Evaluations.  Retrieved from http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Educator-Evaluation-System/Ohio-s-Teacher-Evaluation-System

[5]  Tough Young Teachers.  (2015).  Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2.  BBC.  Teach First.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xq_mveIM8BM and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZtMB4vrr_4

[6]  Danielson, Charlotte.  (n.d.).  Framework for Teaching: Smart Card.  The Danielson Group.  Retrieved from https://danielsongroup.org/framework

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