Teaching evaluation systems – Making education more effective
Friday, February 28, 2014
Training and education are the foundations for teachers' careers in their initial years. Their success and effective contribution to future generations happen only through a process of continuous improvement, which is through upgrades to their knowledge, enhanced teaching aids and objective feedback for their performance. Teaching cannot be static, and it is teachers who have to understand, accept and imbibe the change around them to incorporate the same in the way they teach. This adds to their experience and marks the efficacy of their methods, which are correctly scanned in the teaching evaluation systems.
Targeted professional development has to combine with the direction provided by the state and education boards. To determine whether all these are working, the results will be amply demonstrated in the knowledge levels of the student. This policy promises better results for the whole system and its future. Leading names to pilot this system are the Frederick County Public Schools that are evaluating teachers by how well their students are learning and achieving their goals. It is a measurable index and accounts for 20 percent of the teacher's evaluation process. These revised evaluations are being set to match the federal and state guidelines for teacher performance. The student growth measurements are judged by a combination of assessments, both standardized and teacher-created, but excluding the Maryland School Assessment scores.
Along with placing student learning at the center, these evaluations also need to look beyond the standard goals of development and promote talent among the educators. It should be as much about growth and development as it is about celebrating excellence. This recognition will serve as the biggest motivator, set the bar high for professional teaching status and pave way for teachers to thrive in their workplaces. Along with the newer and revised modes, shortened timelines for improvement will also keep the motivation factor up and running.
Some of the assessment criteria include:
- Shared instruction and classroom instruction
- Curriculum and course development vis a vis classroom materials;
- Supervision and mentoring of students
In some states, the new evaluation systems have faced quite a bit of flak, from teachers and industry alike. To make teacher evaluation more effective, it needs to be more dynamic and have room for more dialogues. A set standard with experience drawn from the past will no longer work for this communication friendly age. Some of these reactions against the system also come from the National Association of Elementary School Principals who say that the latest tools and resources should be made available to the principals without whom the evaluation will be incomplete.
One very notable movement for the upgraded system of evaluation has come from the Pittsburgh Public Schools system. The new standards have already proved themselves to be high and promise to improve the teaching standards of public schools across the city. But teachers have voiced concerns about the process and have asked for definite options for improvement measurement instead of stringent actions like firing. They have criticized any harsh move and have outlined that the evaluation should not work as reason to cite failure but as a catalyst to improve teaching skills. Option to improve will not only work for the educators but also for the students who will benefit from their experience and upgraded knowledgebase. The newer evaluations are drawn from established and traditional state standards as well as student surveys and growth charts today.
This new system for evaluation and development for K-12 classroom teachers is meant to focus on specific strengths and opportunities. It is also meant to make more room for improvement and provide educators with a richer and more detailed view of their performance. Implemented in the 2013-2014 school year, the new system has received tremendous response, both positive and negative. Some educators, like the ones from leading New Jersey schools, are welcoming the learning curve and the student-driven evaluation process. They feel it will increase teacher accountability and also help them excel in the process.
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