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How Teachers Should Be Evaluated

Updated on June 26, 2015

One of the most divisive talking points among K-12 faculty is how to grade a teacher in their profession. How does a teacher be evaluated as "bad" and subject to disciplinary action. In some school districts, teachers are evaluated based upon student test scores as how effective a teacher they are. This can range from 20 to 50% of a teacher's evaluation. Most teachers and their unions think this method is too simplistic and unfair and many times, students refuse to take standardized tests as a protest. In fact, most teachers view that basing evaluations heavily on student test scores is punitive and poorly reflect the reality of the effectiveness of a teacher. The whole point in evaluating how effective a teacher is from the administration's point of view is to find bad teachers.

Many districts have now renamed them to teacher improvement to reflect it is not a punishment process. Most teachers need some improvement but seldom have a good way of getting feedback. In most schools. the principal observes the teacher and rates them as to their effectiveness. Their personal biases, for whatever reasoning, occur, right or wrong. Many schools now use trained, third party, observers that evaluate the teacher on standard criteria. The feedback is not a grade but geared to improving skills where needed. Another component being used to evaluate with is to evaluate a student's progress by measuring whether they have made a year's improvement from the level previously at when school started. This would reflect the real difference a teacher made and would account for the many levels a teacher has to deal with in a single classroom. The evaluation would use test scores but also at the objectives set by the teacher for the students and see if progress was made. Standardized tests fail to do this well.

Truly bad teachers will be seen quickly and can be fired. But, they are in the minority overall. Like students, teachers are always learning also that make their techniques and methods more effective.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 2 years ago

      Can't disagree with you. Thanks.

    • DWDavisRSL profile image

      DW Davis 2 years ago from Eastern NC

      In NC where I have been teaching for 13 years I have seen end-of-year tests morph from measures of student learning used to determine if a child is ready for the next grade to being only teacher evaluation tools and we are now barred from using the test results in determining promotion or retention. Some of the so called final exams are used strictly for teacher evaluation and the students never even see their scores.

      I, and every one of my colleagues, and most administrators I've talked to, believe it is grossly unfair to evaluate a teacher based on a test a student has no stake in the outcome of. I have had students tell me directly that they just bubbled the test and didn't even read the questions, just to get it over with. One of these was a student who was engaged and active in my class, with a high B average for the year, and one of the student's parents is a teacher at another school. The student knew he was going to be promoted and his report card would show good grades. He saw the eoy test as a waste of his time since the outcome wouldn't affect him.

      If you were to teach someone how to fish, and while you were fishing with them they did everything right, but on the day I tested them, with them knowing I was evaluating you and not them, they decided to just sit on the pier and not cast their line into the water, would you think it fair of me to judge your ability to teach fishing based on that student's unwillingness to try on that one day?