When I was an administrator, I’d oversee the yearly teacher evaluation training in August, and if I had a dime for every eye that rolled during the explanation of the difference between proficient and accomplished, then I might not be writing this blog. “So do you want us to put on a dog and pony show, or do you want us to just do what we normally do?” When this question was asked (as it usually was), my reply was, “If you schedule your official observation, I would hope to see you at your very best.” With each year that passed, it was more and more difficult not to snicker after saying this.
Why place the worth of a teacher on one 50-minute observation when they’re contracted to teach 63,000 minutes a year? Literally, the official record of a teacher’s worth comes from a measurement of 0.08% of the time they spend teaching, possibly coupled with an assessment of how they performed on self-set goals and state-mandated practices and responsibilities. In theory, these evaluations can be objective if administration focuses on calibrating, but in reality, the information that ends up in a teacher’s file is largely subjective. The danger in this is that both teachers and administrators can end up viewing this practice as just another box to check off, and it can lead to stagnation in the classroom and lack of growth in administration.
Effective Teacher Evaluations = More Frequent Observations + Objective Data + Specific Goals
Effective teacher evaluation systems hinge on shorter, more frequent observations that produce objective data and have specific goals in mind. These meaningful check-ins produce authentic conversations on growth, goal attainment, and career pathing; they also allow administrators to have a more well-rounded view of each staff member. This, in turn, leads to summative meetings at the end of the year that are productive and meaningful, not subjective and arbitrary. As an added benefit, this practice allows administrators to bridge the chasm between the office and the classroom and stay in touch with current instructional trends in order to better lead their staff as a whole.
Here at Performance Scoring, we’ve developed an application that allows school leaders to effectively evaluate and lead their staff toward the long-term goals they have set for their district or campus. This is accomplished by being intentional about addressing and tracking progress toward the short-term goals that will lead to overall success and growth. In a world of “check the box” evaluation systems, we offer a product that is innovative and dynamic and can lead to actual, authentic continuous improvement. Contact us today to learn more about how we can transform your staff evaluation strategy into an authentic process that produces meaningful results at all levels.