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Limitations of Teacher Evaluation Systems

Limitations of Teacher Evaluation Systems

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this course, students will review the major limitations surrounding contemporary teacher evaluation models.

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Welcome, I'm Tricia Fyfe. In today's video lesson we will look at the lesson titled Limitations of Teacher Evaluation Systems.

As we learn about this topic, we will work towards one main learning objective, and in this video lesson, we'll look at the following question to guide our learning. What are some of the major limitations surrounding contemporary teacher evaluation models?

Let's first consider the background of teacher evaluation processes and models. In this lesson in particular, we will explore the views of two major unions in this country. The National Education Association, or NEA, and the American Federation of Teachers, AFT.

Much of the feedback for teacher evaluation models comes from these two unions. Specifically, we'll focus on where these two unions believe the limitations lie in the current models, as well as where they make recommendations for improvement in teacher evaluation models.

As teachers, we know that there are many different elements to the process of improvement. Teacher evaluation is just one piece to this process of ensuring that we are consistently working on improving our teaching and our students' learning.

This is according to one of the two major teaching unions in the United States, the National Education Association, or NEA. By creating alignment between teacher standards and student standards, and creating a complete framework that assists with the improvement of teacher and student standards, we can begin the better this process. This is what the NEA recommends.

To do this, NEA suggests that we hire teachers that are the most qualified from the beginning, as well as work on improving and bettering teacher preparation programs. They also suggests that we get our teachers opportunities for ongoing professional development, and development that's meaningful and of the utmost quality to the teachers.

When looking at what is currently in place for evaluation models, the NEA finds several limitations. First, they tend to focus on corrective measures, to both measure the effectiveness of the teacher as well as to score us teachers, using ranking and rating measures.

Because of this ranking and rating scale, the focus tends to be on rewarding the highest rated teachers, and removing the lowest rated teachers. These are limitations in that they focus on the negatives and they can potentially create conflict, stress, and a community of teachers that lack support for each other.

The true purpose of teacher evaluation is, of course, to assist with improvements. To improve knowledge, skills, and classroom practices, and strategies as well as dispositions. These mentioned practices are not necessarily meeting the goals and purpose of evaluations for our teachers.

Because of this, the NEA recommends the following considerations. Ensuring that an environment promote safe and open collaboration. Considering using various rating scales and clear and concise standards for teachers. Using measures that are both valid and reliable. Giving teachers a voice, letting these teachers assist in choosing which outcomes to measure and focusing on what they need, according to their own personal needs. Creating a system that has opportunities for collaboration embedded within it is also a recommendation of the NEA.

Aside from NEA, there are others that find limitations within the current models for teacher evaluation. The other major union in the US, the American Federation of Teachers, AFD, also believes we need to carefully look at teacher evaluation.

They believe we should consider the following regarding teacher evaluations. The fact that we need more than just teacher evaluation in place to improve teacher effectiveness and student learning. AFD, like NEA, believes that teachers are integral to this process, and that they should be involved in all of the designing and the evaluation process and methods.

They believe that we need to create a sense of trust in our teachers. Trust for the process. Teachers must know the purpose of these evaluations is to support their needs as well as their students' needs. We must consider that communication is essential and there needs to be opportunities for clear and consistent communication.

AFD also believes that we cannot expect administration and principles to do it all. Everyone in the teaching community needs to band together and own a part of the process. The teacher evaluation system and components must be connected to professional learning opportunities, and there needs to be a sense of reality when it comes to time and resources that are involved in this process.

We must also be careful not to relay the wrong messages when it comes to these evaluations. AFD also believes that all initiatives in the school should be considered and evaluation should be aligned to these initiatives

Finally, AFD believes that we should work together. School districts must collaborate and communicate with others, other states and districts, that have been through this process of bettering their evaluation systems.

Let's talk about what we learned today. We looked at the question, what are some of the major limitation surrounding contemporary teacher evaluation models? In this lesson, we took a look at two of the largest unions in the US, the NEA and AFT, and their take on what the limitations of teacher evaluation systems might be. We also walked through some of their suggestions for bettering our procedures and systems for teacher evaluation throughout the states and individual districts.

Now you're more familiar with these concepts, let's reflect. When considering evaluation models for teachers, do you feel the benefits outweigh the limitations? What do you think must be considered to improve evaluation models and the process for teachers?

Thanks for joining me today in discussing in the lesson Limitations of Teacher Evaluation Systems. I hope you found value in this video lesson and are able to apply these ideas and concepts to your very own teaching.

As you reflect on this new information and how it can be applied, you may want to explore the additional resources section that accompanies this video presentation. This is where you'll find links to resources chosen to help you deepen your learning explore ways to apply your newly acquired skill set.

Notes on “Limitations of Teacher Evaluation Systems ”


(00:00- 00:23) Introduction/Objectives

(00:24- 00:57) Background of Teacher Evaluation Models/Processes

(00:58- 02:43) NEA and Teacher Evaluation

(02:44- 03:18) NEA Recommendations

(03:19- 04:59) AFT Recommendations

(05:00- 05:28) Recap

(05:29- 06:15) Reflection 

Additional Resources

Teacher Assessment and Evaluation: The National Education Association’s Framework for Transforming Education Systems to Support Effective Teaching and Improve Student Learning

This white paper outlines the challenges of improving teaching and learning, and offers a framework for improvement based on criticism of current educator evaluation models.

Criteria for an Effective Teacher Evaluation System

This article by Linda Darling-Hammond discusses the qualities of an effective teacher evaluation process.

The Mind Shift in Teacher Evaluation: Where We Stand—and Where We Need to Go

This article from the American Teacher Federation discusses effective teacher evaluation systems and outlines common missteps to be avoided.