Evaluation Systems Need Fixing

From a recent Edweek article:

“It’s clear to most educators that the current crop of teacher-evaluation systems is flawed, overwrought, and sometimes just plain broken …”

Consider IDEO’s findings about traditional annual reviews:

“No one likes annual reviews: They’re structured, overly formal, and they make it difficult to get real feedback that you can act upon.”

And a recent Rand study in which:

“Only 31 percent of teachers reported that they have sufficient time to collaborate with other teachers.”

Rethink evaluation by finding out about new approaches that work by building collective efficacy. Come to my pre-conference session on Opening Classroom Doors at the IB Global Conference in October. Or attend my session on Observers as Learners at Learning Forward this December. Or better yet, contact me at Tigris Solutions. There are better ways to enhance professional practice!

Teacher evaluation – some people just don’t get it …

From a recent Washington Examiner article:

Under Impact, teachers and other educators are observed at schools five times each year and scored on a scale of 1 to 4, or “highly effective.” But this school year, the 290 teachers who received “highly effective” ratings for the past two years and who earn an average of 3.5 on their first two evaluations this fall will have the option to waive the three remaining observations.

“This is something we’ve been hearing from teachers and principals since Impact was launched,” said Scott Thompson, director of teacher effectiveness strategy for DCPS. “Everyone thinks it’s reasonable to be evaluated and held to high standards, and if [teachers] consistently demonstrate they are high-performing, it didn’t seem like they needed to be observed quite as many times.”

So … evaluation is purely about accountability? If a teacher is so “effective,” why isn’t s/he seeking feedback to improve already solid practice? And don’t we want to be on the lookout for examples of excellence to highlight for other teachers? Shouldn’t we be really thinking in terms of talent management (i.e. note and learn from highly effective practitioners)?


When everyone involved assumes that observations are only about making sure teachers aren’t “bad” it undermines the whole notion of professional growth …

Rest of the Examiner article here.

The Widget Effect

If teachers are so important, why do we treat them like widgets?

Effective teachers are the key to student success. Yet our school systems treat all teachers as interchangeable parts, not professionals. Excellence goes unrecognized and poor performance goes unaddressed. This indifference to performance disrespects teachers and gambles with students’ lives.

Visit the site to learn more.