High-quality teacher evaluations are an important component of comprehensive systems to ensure that all students are being taught by effective teachers. From evaluations, districts and states can generate data that can positively impact teachers and students in numerous ways. This is why states have invested so much in them – since 2009, 37 states have updated their evaluation systems – and why they are so important to get right.
The act of teaching is hard — but the ins and outs of being a teacher are hard too. When mentors work on professional growth goals without probing a teacher’s mindset or emotional health, skill development can become distracting, stressful and even counterproductive.
Last month, we shared a run-through of the work by Maryland and Oklahoma to better prepare principals. When I was teaching first grade, many times I participated in professional development sessions that left me bursting with ideas and excitement but left me unsure about my ability to effectively execute what I had learned the next week in my classroom.
Sometimes it can be difficult to make the transition from knowing to doing when trying to apply concepts to ground-level practice. This often holds true for many kinds of learners – including students, teachers and even states. State education agencies know that principals play an influential role in the development of effective teachers and schools. But how can states build a strong foundation in order to prepare principals for this influential role? Similarly, practitioners can probably agree that in theory, inter-state collaboration yields great potential for learning. So how can they go about actually engaging in it?
Teachers across the SREB region and the nation are wary of the use of student growth scores in their evaluations. How can they know with certainty that their evaluation score is a reflection of how they taught the students in their class?
In spring 2014-15, 68 percent of Tennessee teachers reported that evaluation improves teaching in their school and 63 percent said it improves student learning. That is a drastic shift from when Tennessee became the first state to implement a statewide, multiple-measure teacher evaluation system that included a major student growth component in 2011-12. How did they get to where they are now?