Education as a whole is continuously changing and ever evolving. We have progress from No Child Left Behind to Race to the Top and many others. The newest push has been the adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards. These standards primarily focus on English Language Arts and Mathematics. Included are the reading and writing in Science and Social Studies.
As the standards of education are changing so are the standards for teaching. For years our students have been evaluated with a high stakes test to determine their ability. As the rigor of the standards has increased so has the need to assess teacher effectiveness. In some instances the student high stakes results are used to determine teacher effectiveness.
Teacher evaluations based on instruction in the classroom has become a focus for many educational stakeholders. The best indicator of student achievement is based on the teacher effectiveness in the classroom. However, the method for determining teacher effectiveness is not universally used. Some states have implemented state based teacher effectiveness measurement rubrics. The learning process is an active process and methods such as interactive lectures are considered as educational best practice when teaching students with diverse science backgrounds. Does this educational practice span across content areas? I find myself agreeing that an active learning experience is a good practice and more meaningful to students.
Currently my role in education is that I serve as a TAP Master Teacher for one campus. One of my responsibilities is to conduct classroom observations/evaluations using a rubric. Based on each teacher evaluation conducted, I hold an individual conference to provide feedback and provide suggestions to improve student achievement. I am also evaluated in the same manner as the teachers using the same measurement rubric.
When I look at teacher evaluations as a whole I look at the process from both the view of the administrator as well as the teacher. From the viewpoint of an administrator, I can see how teacher evaluations based on actual teaching of students is beneficial, especially if students are being assessed on content that is to have been taught by the teacher. However, some high stakes exams are not built to assess content that was taught in one year and require students to think back to previous “taught” content. Some states have revised their high stakes assessments to now reflect what was to be taught in that academic year hence being called end of course exam/test. From the viewpoint of a teacher, I can see how teacher evaluations can also be beneficial if the measurement is based upon teaching and remove the focus from procedural actions that a teacher is to complete. The teacher evaluations themselves can be a tool to help to improve the quality of instruction being provided to the students.
There are so many questions to think about:
How can we have teacher evaluations that are beneficial to the teachers while impacting student achievement? In my experience, teachers that truly care about their students and their performance want to hear constructive criticism with suggestions for improvement. Many teachers have expressed the dislike for “busy work” that does not impact student achievement.
What type of actions can we take to prepare teachers for the shifts we see in education? I have come across this information while working to help prepare my teachers for the shift to the rigor of the CCSS. The Student Achievement Partners are a non-profit organization that is working to support teachers as they are implementing the Common Core State Standards. They have provided free resources that were designed to help teachers and student achieve success with the CCSS. They have also developed and provided rubrics that help to determine if a teacher’s lesson is common core aligned.
What about if the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards comes to your state? NGSS have been recommended to be adopted in whole without alterations. If they are adopted this could possibly impact the manner in which teachers are trained. What does that do to the accountability factor?
How will all these changes impact teacher evaluations? Do you think that as the standards have begun shifting so should the expectations for teacher evaluations?