Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How do you evaluate?

This is a very important time of the year for myself and staff.  As I wrap up my final post-observation meetings it is time to reflect on the past few months of formally evaluating teachers.  Evaluation is never an easy process for both sides, my hope is to help my teachers grow as educators.  It shouldn't be a gotcha moment for teachers.

It is important that trust is established and that it isn't a session full of nitpicking and negativity.  I had some very good conversations about teaching and learning.  It makes it all worthwhile when you see growth from year to year.  Anthony Cody put together a nice article a few days ago regarding evaluation.  It really caused me to think differently about my current state of evaluation.  
"A teacher meets with his or her evaluator. They review the professional standards in use, and look for areas in need of growth. Maybe it is a focus on literacy and writing skills. Maybe it is bringing the English learners level of engagement and participation up. They discuss strategies the teacher might try to address these things, and they also discuss the forms of evidence they will look at over the year to see what is happening in this area. Assessment, especially of the classroom-based formative sort, is a powerful tool. How is a teacher assessing his or her students' abilities? How are they using that information to give feedback and give the student appropriate, challenging work? This is where test data may play an important role, because a skilled teacher draws on this data to better understand their students."
"Once an area of focus has been defined, the teacher and evaluator find some professional development resources that might help as well -- maybe a conference to attend, some books that might be read, a grade level team that might come observe a lesson here and there and offer feedback, a colleague that is expert in this area to go observe. Then over the year, the teacher collects student work samples that provide evidence of learning. They document how they have designed instruction to help students learn, and show where they have provided feedback. The evaluator observes, a few times at random, and a few times by request, to see particular lessons. This evidence would be appropriate to the goal that has been set. It could include some test data, but test data would just be one source of evidence among many."
What is your evaluation process?  How can we have more of these deep discussions regarding teaching and learning throughout the year?

How do we remove the stigma attached to evaluation?  Can we?

You can find Anthony Cody's full post here: Teacher Evaluation: Should we Look at Evidence of Learning?

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