Sunday, December 15, 2013

Teacher Evaluation Models

Students need great teachers to learn to the best of their potential. New Jersey set out to ensure that only highly-qualified and effective teachers earn tenure and instruct our students.  In 2012, the State Legislature unanimously passed a law requiring new teacher and principal evaluations to be implemented by this 2013–14 school year. AchieveNJ is designed to recognize those who excel, identify those who need additional support, and provide meaningful feedback and professional development to all teachers. There are seven performance standards associated with the “make-up” of a successful teacher. These are the basis of teacher evaluation models and are as follows: professional knowledge, instructional planning, iinstructional delivery, aassessment of learning, fostering a positive learning environment, exhibiting professionalism, and overall student progress.
Teacher performance be documented with observations, student learning objectives, documentation logs, student artifacts (which provide evidence of meeting certain standards), and  student surveys. Teacher performance be rated by four point rating scale proposed by NJ.
1.Highly Effective-Teacher maintains performance that consistently and considerably surpasses established standard.
2. Effective- consistent with the schools mission & goals.

3. Partially Effective- performance below established standard, inconsistent with schools mission/goals.
4. Ineffective- Consistently performs below established standards

The modern teacher evaluation template places inflexible timelines on the conditions for removal of tenure. Typical legislation dictates that teacher tenure either can or must be revoked and the teacher dismissed after 2 consecutive years of being rated ineffective (where tenure can only be achieved after 3 consecutive years of being rate effective).
One of the approved systems is the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model was developed by Robert Marzano. The sole focus of this model is that, “Every teacher will increase their expertise to sufficient levels every year to move student achievement.” The Marzano method studies the nuances of teachers that effects students’ achievement. It works on a developmental continuum and is research-based. Furthermore, the model is set up to support the idea of teachers growing over time. There are 4 domains. All are connected to student achievement. Domain 1:  Classroom Strategies and Behaviors. Domain 2: Planning and Preparing. Domain 3: Reflecting on Teaching. Domain 4: Collegiality and Professionalism.

Another widely used model is the Danielson Framework for Teaching. This method operates with two broad purposes. The first is quality assurance, meaning, “How do we ensure the most qualified teachers are in front of students on a daily basis”. The second purpose is professional learning, (i.e making sure the evaluations are used to help teachers grow). A clear definition of what good teaching is, along with levels of performance can help foster successful teachers. Evaluations can be used as a coaching tool to help teachers move to the next level. Instruments and procedures, Procedures for collecting observations, Teachers know what they are evaluated on.
A benefit of using teacher evaluation models are that effective teachers will receive tenure, ineffective one will not. Also, teachers will now receive explicit quality feedback that provides a clear perspective of performance and guidance on setting professional development goals. They can use this feedback constructively to improve their practices and in turn become more effective teachers.

The main drawback of the new teacher evaluation system is that a teachers rating and tenure status also rely on the results of student performance, including standardized test scores.  Teachers do have control over the quality of their teaching practices, but not their situations of their students that may impact learning. Also, the cost to implement the approved teacher evaluation models is quite high. Many would argue, this is a cost that would be better spent elsewhere in a school budget.

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