Teacher Evaluation to Enhance Professional Practice

By Charlotte Danielson; Thomas L. McGreal | Go to book overview

3
A Blueprint for Teacher Evaluation
Some educators equate teacher evaluation with classroom observation; others equate it with the forms used. Revising their system of evaluation, then, becomes a matter of changing the forms, or the forms used in an observation. Although evaluation forms are important in defining the structure of an evaluation process and the types of professional conversation surrounding it, forms do not constitute the system. An effective teacher evaluation system is far more complex than the forms and must contain three essential elements:
A coherent definition of the domain of teaching (the “What?”), including decisions concerning the standard for acceptable performance (“How good is good enough?”).
Techniques and procedures for assessing all aspects of teaching (the “How?”).
Trained evaluators who can make consistent judgments about performance, based on evidence of the teaching as manifested in the procedures.

In addition, in designing (or revising) its system of evaluation, a school district should follow a process that includes many perspectives—those of teachers, administrators, and the leadership of the teacher's association.

The challenge confronting designers of an evaluation system is to (1) encourage professional learning and, at the same time, (2) ensure the quality of teaching. Thanks to recent experience with assessments, such as those developed by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, educators are now in a good position to address this design challenge.

In this chapter, we explore the three essential elements of a coherent evaluation system, as mentioned previously. We then outline the demands of quality assurance and the requirements of an environment for professional learning—and describe the means by which schools and districts may merge the two aspects into a single system.


The Nature of Quality Assurance

The requirements for quality assurance link directly to the structure described here for the elements of an evaluation system (the “what,” the “how,” and trained evaluators).


The “What”

Central to the notion of quality assurance in teaching is a clear and coherent definition of exemplary practice (for more information, see

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