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Teacher Evauation in Context: Who uses it and how

Teacher Evauation in Context: Who uses it and how

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this lesson, students examine the definiton and purpose of teacher evaluation.

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Teacher Evaluation and Assessment

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Welcome. I'm Trisha Fyfe. And in today's video lesson, we will dive into the lesson titled Teacher evaluation in context: Who uses it and how? As we learn about this topic, we'll work towards one main learning objective. And together we'll use the following question to guide our learning in this video lesson. What is the purpose of teacher evaluation?

As you go through this course, you will hear the term teacher evaluation often. To be clear, when we discuss teacher evaluation, we define this as the complete cyclical process that a school uses to review a teacher's instructional effectiveness, professional growth, and professional practices. Teacher evaluation includes observations both announced and unannounced, conferences, goals for growth, student data, processes for reflection, and improvement or professional growth plans when these apply.

When all of these items are looked at combined or collectively, they seem to help in providing a very comprehensive examination of a teacher in their effectiveness. The most effective teacher evaluation processes are those that provide timely and specific feedback. This feedback can be used to continue improvement and encourage professional growth for teachers. Reflection and self-assessment for teachers throughout this process is crucial as well.

Each day is responsible for determining cycles for teacher evaluation, and there's a variance across the states because of this. While some states require annual evaluations and reporting, others use teachers' years of service or ratings for effectiveness to prompt timing for those evaluations. Principals and teacher leaders use schedules determined by their own district and teacher contracts to follow through with evaluations of their teachers. The only time that this will definitely become an issue is when evaluations are not performed on a regular and consistent basis.

So what is the purpose and what are the benefits of teacher evaluation? Title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as well as No Child Left Behind in Title I, all require evaluation and measurement of teacher quality and teacher effectiveness. All of this data is the basis for so many different decisions.

One of the single greatest factors in increasing student achievement and beginning to close gaps for achievement is the fact that students have access to highly effective teachers in their educational experiences. Because of this correlation, teacher evaluation plays a very significant role in how we think about and measure teacher quality. Teacher evaluation is also an important and essential component of state and federal reporting requirements on teacher quality and effectiveness. When we evaluate teachers, we should use these findings for professional growth and levels of effectiveness.

All students should have access to highly effective teachers, teachers who are able to meet not only individual needs, but also align these needs to different developmental levels. It's found that teachers who are evaluated often reflect more. They're encouraged to do so, and this leads to professional growth and improvement. When teachers are able to use these opportunities to self-reflect often, they're able to improve and better their teaching practices. This is even more so when paired with a deeper understanding of professional teaching standards and practices. According to Linda Darling-Hammond, "the development and the use of standards-based evaluations of practice, combined with student learning evidence developed by teachers seem to be associated with improvements in practice."

Let's talk about what we learned today. We looked at the following question. What is the purpose of teacher evaluation? In today's lesson, we discussed what a teacher evaluation is and when it might be performed. We also talked about why evaluations are so beneficial for teachers. Not only do they allow for self-reflection, but they also promote teachers to use these reflections to better practice.

From my own experiences with teacher evaluations, I can tell you that I benefited greatly from opportunities for self-reflection after conferencing with my principal after observations. I was able to reflect on the ideas and strategies that we discussed, what worked and what didn't work, and make changes to my own personal teaching practices to improve learning in my classroom.

Now that you're more familiar with these concepts, let's reflect. What are some examples of teacher observation that you have observed or experienced? What have you learned from these examples of teacher observation?

Thanks for joining me today in discussing the lesson Teacher evaluation and context: who uses it and how? I hope you found value in this video lesson and the ideas that we discussed, and I hope you're able to apply them to your own teaching. For more information on how to apply what you've learned in this video, please see the Additional Resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The Additional Resources section includes hyperlinks useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource.

Notes on “Teacher Evaluation in Context: Who Uses it and How?”


(00:00- 00:20) Introduction/Objectives

(00:21- 01:21) What is Teacher Evaluation?

(01:22- 01:56) Teacher Evaluation Cycles

(01:57- 03:37) Purpose and Benefits of Teacher Evaluations

(03:38- 04:24) Recap

(04:25- 05:06) Reflection 

Additional Resources

The Two Purposes of Teacher Evaluation

In this ASCD article, Robert Marzano describes the two purposes of teacher evaluation and their cross purposes.

Evaluating Teachers: The Important Role of Value-Added

This is an informative article on teacher evaluation from the Brookings Brown Center Task Group on Teacher Quality.