Effectively evaluating teachers is a constant topic in education. The perfect formula remains elusive for public schools throughout the United States. By focusing on the quality of teaching, the new trends in teacher evaluations are designed to be catalysts for teacher and school improvement (Toch, 2008). Ultimately, the goal is to raise student achievement. Toch (2008) claims there are numerous promising evaluation models, which demonstrate that it is possible to evaluate teachers in much more productive ways. While the approach is different, Murphy, MacLaren, and Flynn (2009) concur that determining what constitutes effective teaching is a highly complex activity and is significant to developing operative evaluation tools in order to achieve growth and development.
Models to Improve Teaching
According to Toch (2008), the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) is an excellent model because it includes: (a) explicit standards; (b) multiple measures; and (c) teamwork. TAP uses standards for evaluating teachers based on the Danielson model, which breaks teaching down into four major categories (planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction, and professional responsibilities). TAP also uses rubrics created by Danielson for evaluators. These rubrics identify teachers as: (a) unsatisfactory; (b) basic; (c) proficient; and (d) distinguished in each skill category. Additionally, TAP targets frequency of classroom questioning and higher level thinking skills. Teachers in TAP schools do not receive the traditional once a year, one-time observation. Rather, they are evaluated by multiple measures. Lesson plans, instructional materials, and student work are all assessed. In schools using TAP, teachers are evaluated...
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...ive-bys or evaluations based on test scores (Toch, 2008). Creating teams among peers reduces cost in time and money to building administrators, while promoting a positive school culture and fostering collaboration and feedback in a safe setting (p. 36). Teamwork is essential. Striving to improve instruction is crucial. Being dedicated to strong relationships, collegiality, and evaluations designed to include formative assessment aimed at producing distinguished summative results will improve teaching and subsequently teacher evaluations – or vice versa.
Murphy, T., MacLaren, I., & Flynn, S. (2009). Toward a summative system for the assessment of teaching quality in higher education. International Journal of teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 20(2), 226-236.
Toch, T. (2008). Fixing teacher evaluation. Educational Leadership, 66(2), 32-37.
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