The Educator's PLN

The personal learning network for educators

Why the current educator evaluation process not only doesn't work...it is hurting America's education system

If you have been in education for one year, you have most likely experienced the educator evaluation process. Depending on what school you work at, and in which district you work, your experience could be
completely different than that of another. I think it is fantastic that
individual schools and districts retain the right to do things in a manner
which is best fitting for their students and their community, however when an
educator evaluation process is lacking and inadequate, the students and
community suffer.

Before we can address this issue, we need to agree that the educator evaluation
process serves some kind of a purpose. Hopefully, this purpose is much more
than just simply saying whether a teacher is good or not. In most districts
teachers get a formal evaluation once a year. The teacher is given advanced
notice before the evaluation, and the teacher is able to prepare the perfect
lesson plan to show off his/her abilities in the classroom. Additionally, there
is normally no pre-observation talk to discuss what the teacher is planning, as
well as no post-observation talk to discuss what the results of the observation
were. Now...I am not a rocket scientist, nor do I claim to know everything
about education. I do, however, think educators have one of the most important
jobs in the world, and as such would require one of the most intricate and
developed methods to evaluate its educators.

First off, if we are given advance notice before our observation, I am fairly
certain most educators are going to perform well and have a positive
evaluation. How does this really evaluate our educators? How does this help our
educators grow and develop their weaknesses into strengths? How can one,
advance notice observation, determine the overall effectiveness, or lack thereof, of an educator? How can such an important job have such an underdeveloped
evaluation process that frankly hurts educators by not helping them grow and
develop, and leaving too many educators in a field in which they are not really
suited. Imagine, if we gave each student all the answers to the test, and
determined the student's grade purely on that one test...would we really know
much about that student? Has that student grown in his/her mastery of the
subject matter? We have got to change the evaluation process we use for
educators, because in its current form, it is doing more harm than good.

A great educator evaluation program begins with teacher growth and development.
We should be using the evaluation process to help our teachers to grow and
become better equipped to deal with the educational challenges of the 21st
century. The educator evaluation process needs to be a collaborative process
that involves other teachers, administrators, and I honestly think...students.
Shouldn't we embrace the opinion of others to make sure we are using an
evaluation process that helps and actually improves educator ability?

A growing trend in education is standards based grading. I firmly believe a
standards based grading system would be an asset to educator development and
educator evaluation methods. We would then be able to quantify the strengths
and weaknesses of individual educators, while empowering them by helping them
to understand ways to improve their skills. In its current form, we are hurting
the educational process by using an out dated, obsolete, and ineffective
evaluation process that adds almost zero value to the educational setting. It
is time to change!

Check out this valuable link: http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-9213/teacher.htm



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Comment by Meredith Johnson on August 8, 2010 at 5:53pm
Justin

Just recently I located the Marzano resource and haven't had the oppotunity to use it yet. I plan on adding it as a template to the e-Walk system I want to start using. I am the building principal but the form won't be used as evaluative but as instructional and a tremendous starting point for the conversations that will take place. I look forward to sharing it with the instructional coach to see if she would also be interested in using it.
Comment by Justin Tarte on August 7, 2010 at 10:52am
Meredith,

Thank you for this resource. I am familiar with Marzano, however I didn't know he did stuff with staff observation and evaluation. I love that observation groups discuss their findings once they are finished. Additionally, I like how they are supposed to compare their observations to a lesson they teach. Overall, this is a very developed and outlined program, whereas many schools and districts probably don't use something as developed as this.

- Just curious - how do the teachers respond to this style of observation? What is the role of the administrator?

Thanks for the input!!
Comment by Meredith Johnson on August 7, 2010 at 10:41am
Time for a change <--- yes, I agree. When moving ahead it is important that the change involve researched based concepts. Marzano certainly leads the field. We recently began using the e-walk system for classroom walk-throughs and can add, change and adjust the template that is used. Check out this resource from Marzano and let me know what you think - http://www.marzanoresearch.com/documents/MarzanosObservationalProto...

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