ERIC Identifier: ED315431
Publication Date: 1989-03-00
Author: Boyd, Ronald T. C.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Tests Measurement and Evaluation Washington DC., American Institutes for
Research Washington DC.
Improving Teacher Evaluations. ERIC Digest No. 111.
Teacher evaluations are often designed to serve two purposes: to measure
teacher competence and to foster professional development and growth. This
digest discusses characteristics of effective teacher evaluations and some
common teacher concerns.
EFFECTIVE TEACHER EVALUATIONS
A teacher evaluation system
should give teachers useful feedback on classroom needs, the opportunity to
learn new teaching techniques, and counsel from principals and other teachers on
how to make changes in their classrooms. To achieve these goals, evaluators must
first set specific procedures and standards. The standards should
* relate to important teaching skills,
* be as objective as possible,
* be clearly communicated to the teacher before the evaluation begins and be
reviewed after the evaluation is over, and
* be linked to the teacher's professional development.
Evaluators should consider a variety of teaching skills. If the evaluators
use several sources of information about a teacher's performance, they can make
a more accurate evaluation. Some procedures evaluators can use are to:
* Observe classroom activities. This is by far the most common form of data
collection for evaluation. The goal of class observations is to obtain a
representative sample of a teacher's performance in the classroom. Evaluators
cannot accomplish this goal with a sample of only a few hours of observation or
with an observation of only one class. Observations can be formal and planned or
informal and unannounced. Both forms of evaluation can provide valuable
* Review lesson plans and classroom records. Lesson plans can reflect how
well a teacher has thought through instructional goals. Looking at classroom
records, such as tests and assignments, can indicate how well a teacher has
linked lesson plans, instruction, and testing.
* Expand the number of people involved in the evaluations. Most often
principals or department supervisors conduct evaluations. Again, many state laws
and collective bargaining agreements specify that teacher's supervisors evaluate
their performance. This system works well if the only goal of evaluation is to
determine competence. If the goal of the evaluation is to promote growth,
however, other evaluators should participate. Self-evaluations give teachers'
perspective on their work. Surprisingly, few school systems require
self-evaluations. Peer and student evaluations, if schools administer them
properly, can also benefit teachers.
Teachers who want to improve their teaching are eager to know how other
teachers and their students view them. These are the people who interact with
the teacher everyday; their perspective should not be ignored during the
REPORTING THE RESULTS OF THE EVALUATION
conference can give teachers feedback on their strengths and weaknesses.
Evaluators must remember to:
* deliver the feedback in a positive and considerate way;
* offer ideas and suggest changes that make sense to the teacher;
* maintain a level of formality necessary to achieve the goals of the
* maintain a balance between praise and criticism; and
* give enough feedback to be useful but not so much that the teacher is
LINKING TEACHER EVALUATION TO PROFESSIONAL
Linking evaluation and development is a difficult task for
teachers, evaluators, and principals. Although there are few easy answers,
evaluation can be used to
* work with teachers to set specific, achievable goals;
* provide constructive criticism and suggestions to improve weak areas and
amplify strengths; and
* enlist experienced teachers to help improve the performance of less
Experienced teachers often state that
evaluations are not productive. Some of this dissatisfaction is based on
experiences which can be avoided:
* Teachers not having any input into the evaluation criteria. Other
professionals (doctors, lawyers, engineers) control the criteria for entering
and maintaining membership in their profession. Teachers, on the other hand,
often do not have that privilege. State laws or school boards decide the focus
of the evaluation. This leads teachers to distrust the evaluation process and to
question the validity of the results it produces.
* Evaluators not spending enough time on the evaluation. Teachers complain
that the principal, or whoever is conducting the evaluation, does not have the
time to gather quality information and provide useful feedback. After a
teacher's first year evaluation, he or she may not have another evaluation for
two or three years, sometimes longer.
* Evaluators not being well trained. Teachers complain that few evaluators
have any special training to help them plan and carry out a successful
evaluation. Even worse, many have had little or no recent experience in the
classroom. The criteria for evaluations are often vague, subjective, and
inconsistent. This robs the evaluator of the credibility needed to carry out an
* Results of evaluations not being used to further teacher development. For
many teachers, the evaluation process can be a dead end. The results do not
figure into salary increases, promotions, or any meaningful program for
professional development. Few districts have established a clear link between
teacher evaluation and teacher development.
Teacher evaluations can be a positive experience
for both the teacher and the evaluator. The challenge for evaluators is to make
the evaluation process a meaningful experience, not simply an empty exercise.
Duke, Daniel L.; Stiggins, Richard J.
(1986) Teacher Evaluation:
Five Keys to Growth. The National Education Association,
Washington, D.C., ED 275 069.
This guide for teachers and evaluators stresses that teacher
growth can promote school effectiveness. The authors
describe the attributes of an evaluation that produces
Galluzzo, Gary R. (1987) "Assessment of Teaching Skills of
Beginning Teachers." In: What's Happening in Teacher
Testing, Lawrence M. Rudner, Ed. U.S. Department of
Education, Washington, D.C., ED 284 867.
This book chapter reviews programs for first year teachers
that screen teachers for quality and provide on-the-job
assistance for teachers who require it.
Stiggins, Richard J.; Bridgeford, Nancy J. (Spring 1985)
"Performance Assessment for Teacher Development."
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. vol. 7, no. 1.
This article discusses the potential conflict between
evaluation systems that must judge teacher effectiveness and
encourage teacher development.
Veenman, Simon. (Summer 1984) "Perceived Problems of Beginning
Teachers." Review of Educational Research, vol. 54, no. 2.
This article reviews perceived problems of beginning
teachers in their first years of teaching. Teacher
development and forms of planned support for beginning
teachers are discussed.
Wise, A. E., (1984) Case Studies for Teacher Evaluation: A Study
of Effective Practices. Rand Corp., Santa Monica, CA. ED 251 952.
This book provides indepth descriptions of four exemplary
teacher evaluation programs representing a wide range of
approaches and environments. Policy context, organizational
setting, program goals, and actual practice are discussed.