Hi! We are James Stronge and Xianxuan Xu. I am a Professor of Education at the College of William and Mary. For 20 plus years, I have worked with state departments of education, school districts, and national and international educational organizations to design and implement teacher and leader evaluation systems. Xian is a post-doctoral research associate at William and Mary. Let us take this opportunity to offer some reflections on the current state-of-the-art in teacher evaluation.
Teacher evaluation has evolved from focusing on the moral values of teachers in the early 1900s to standards-based evaluation models of today that include measures of student academic progress. Further, teacher evaluation systems seek to serve two needs: accountability and improvement. Changes in teacher evaluation have been influenced by political winds as well as a desire to create systems that are fair and balanced. For the past few years, the focus has shifted from systems that measure the process of teaching to systems that measure both the process of teaching and the outcomes of student learning. Consequently, contemporary policy and practice frequently require a major component of teacher effectiveness be demonstrated by measured student learning gains. The validity of including student learning has been the topic of intense discussion. Although the debate continues, implementation of such systems is well under way.
The Widget Effectis a study undertaken to determine the variations in teacher performance that are documented through traditional teacher evaluation. Findings suggest little variation in ratings exists: effective teachers go unrecognized while less effective teaching is not addressed.
Getting Teacher Assessment Rightis a policy report, which examines relevant research and offers recommendations for clear evaluation criteria, training of evaluators, and inclusion of student assessment data.
The Personnel Evaluation Standards: How to Assess Systems for Evaluating Educators provides the standards of propriety, utility, feasibility, and utility, which are widely recognized in the field of education as guideposts for evaluating and improving personnel evaluation systems.
The steps presented here are intended for practitioners designing and implementing new evaluation systems.
1: Review any new state/district policies related to teacher evaluation and take stock of the current system’s strengths and weaknesses.
2: Develop performance standards, indicators, and performance rubrics.
3: Decide on data sources to use and develop related protocols and forms.
4: Develop criteria for connecting teacher performance to student academic progress.
5: Decide on how to rate teacher performance.
6 Develop ways to support and improve teacher performance.
7: Determine a timetable and procedures for implementation of the system.
8: Develop supporting documents, materials, professional development opportunities.
9: Provide comprehensive training for evaluators and evaluatees.
10: Pilot test the new evaluation system, and make modifications as needed.
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