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Benefits and Pitfalls of Teacher Evaluation Models

Benefits and Pitfalls of Teacher Evaluation Models

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this lesson, students examine the benefits, pitfalls, and best practices of teacher evaluation models.

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Welcome. I'm Trisha Fyfe. And in today's video lesson, we'll look at the lesson titled Benefits and Pitfalls of Teacher Evaluation Models. As we learn about this topic, we will work towards several learning objectives. And together, we'll answer the following question to guide our learning. What are the benefits, pitfalls, and best practices in teacher evaluation models?

Teachers have such an important role. And the research shows that we as teachers offer the most impact on our students' levels of achievement when comparing achievement and another factors. This is just one of the many reasons that ensuring all of our students have exposure to highly effective teachers is one of the most influential strategies in helping our students succeed.

Essentially, highly effective teachers lead to students that are more supported. When we implement teacher evaluations, we help this process. We've already discussed in previous lessons the many benefits of teacher evaluations. Evaluations lead to highly effective teachers, which lead to higher achievement. It's a win-win for us all-- teachers, students, and the school system.

Let's take a look at some of this important research. Again, this research reiterates that teachers are, in fact, the number one impact on student achievement. And this comes from the Measures of Effective Teaching, or MET, project's study findings in 2013. This research dives into teacher evaluation and the fact that evaluating teachers can help us define and determine what it means to teach effectively.

Teacher evaluations focus on factors like classroom observations, student surveys, and student achievement gains. Improvements of practice are still essential for teachers. But we need support. When teachers have evaluation models that are supported, they're able to make improvements more effectively. And this leads to higher levels of access to quality, effective teachers.

John Hattie's research in 2011 supports this. In his visible learning model, one of the highest effect sizes on student learning is teacher feedback. Student growth and achievement are benefited so much by incorporating evaluation models that are effective and supportive to teachers.

Let's look at some more research. According to Teaching for America's Future, a report by the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, it was implied that the greatest impact on student achievement is content knowledge and skills that teachers possess. When schools consistently and effectively recruit and retrain teachers that are effective and empower and support teachers with resources needed and a positive, supportive school environment, school improvement is so much more likely.

Professional development and dialogue can be differentiated, which helps to support each and every teacher regardless of their needs. This makes for an effective system. Teaching practices improve and the retention rates of teachers improve when they feel such support.

But not all evaluation systems are created equal, unfortunately. And there are some negative impacts of those teacher evaluation systems that are ineffective. Systems that are not effective tend to leave out differentiation strategies. A one-size approach is often used for all teachers despite their unique needs.

Teachers have different needs for professional development. They have different needs for support. When these specific needs are not looked at, they may not be met. A struggling teacher or a teacher that is new to the profession, for example, has specific needs. If an evaluation system is ineffective, it may not offer that teacher adequate support to make improvements.

When this is the case, students are exposed over and over to teachers that are not highly qualified. And this is due to the fact that there are lower retention rates. Regardless of the reason, the impacts of student achievement are negative when this happens.

Another negative factor of systems that are ineffective is that they often don't allow for teacher voice. Teachers are more reluctant to fully support and buy into these systems. Data collection methods are often inefficient. And the ability to fulfill components of the evaluation itself by trained evaluators is sometimes not possible. When this is the case, more workload is put on administration and evaluators to find solutions.

Sometimes the system may not be usable at all. And sometimes administration spends a great deal of time trying to fix the system. This can pull them away from other important roles and responsibilities.

Evaluation methods that work are often overlooked in ineffective systems. Student growth should be evaluated based upon demographics of students in the school. This does not happen sometimes. And the results can be negative. Ratings for effectiveness can be jaded and unfair because they're based mainly on standardized assessments. This doesn't take into account differences in students, such as cultural or language differences.

So what can we do? School or district teams are a great first step and one of the most important factors in avoiding these negative implications. This team will learn about, analyze, and personalize the evaluation system required.

They will also have the ability to offer feedback and suggestions for improvement that can be made to the model. These suggestions should focus on differentiating the model to the needs of the specific teachers and students that will be using it. At any rate, all teachers should be trained on this evaluation model. Components should be added if they're missing, such as professional development and support systems.

Let's talk about what we learned today. We looked at the question, what are the benefits, pitfalls, and best practices in teacher evaluation models? In this lesson, we looked back at some of the research that supports the fact that we as teachers offer the most impact on our students' levels of achievement when comparing achievement and other factors. This is just one of the many reasons that ensuring all students have exposure to highly effective teachers is one of the most influential strategies in helping our students succeed. We looked at pitfalls of evaluation systems and how to avoid these pitfalls for an evaluation model for your school and district.

Now that you're more familiar with these concepts, let's reflect. Consider an evaluation model that you've used or one you have observed. Was it effective or not? Why or why not? What could have been improved with that model?

Thanks for joining me today in discussing the lesson Benefits and Pitfalls of Teacher Evaluation Models. I hope you found value in this video lesson and you're able to apply these ideas and resources to your own teaching.

Now it's your turn to apply what you've learned in this video. The additional resources section will be super helpful. This section is designed to help you discover useful ways to apply what you've learned here. Each link includes a brief description so you can easily target the resources that you want.

Notes on “Benefits and Pitfalls of Teacher Evaluation Models”


(00:00- 00:21) Introduction/Objectives

(00:22- 01:06) Teacher Evaluation and Teacher Effectiveness  

(01:07- 02:11) MET Data

(02:12- 02:55) Teaching for America Data

(02:56- 04:50) Pitfalls of Ineffective Evaluation Systems  

(04:51- 05:24) Avoiding Pitfalls

(05:25- 05:59) Recap

(06:00- 06:43) Reflection 

Additional Resources

Ensuring Fair and Reliable Measures of Effective Teaching

This policy brief addresses best practices in teacher evaluation models, processes, and measures.

HR Educator Evaluation Cheat Sheet: 8 Best Practices From Recent Research

This cheat sheet is a useful tool when analyzing your teacher evaluation model and making suggestions for improvements to the model.