A Critical Analysis of Teacher Evaluation Policy Trends

By Larsen, Marianne A. | Australian Journal of Education, November 2005 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

A Critical Analysis of Teacher Evaluation Policy Trends


Larsen, Marianne A., Australian Journal of Education


Modernising the teaching profession has become one of the main goals of contemporary educational system reform. The evaluation of teachers has been integral to the new teacher quality policies and programs. This article provides a comparative and critical analysis of the evaluations that teachers now confront during their professional careers. Examples of teacher evaluation practices and processes from Australia, Canada, the United States, and England are described and analysed.

Introduction

Teaching, it is argued, is 'at the heart of education, so one of the most important actions the nation can take to improve education is to strengthen the teaching profession' (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, 2005, p. 1). Improving student learning and school effectiveness are consequently viewed as dependent upon the implementation of a wide range of 'quality teacher' programs and policies related to the selection, training, certification, hiring and retention of good teachers in public school classrooms (Australian Commonwealth Government, 2005; Ontario Provincial Government [Ont. Prov. Govt], 2001; United Kingdom Department for Education and Skills [UK DfEE], 1998; UK DfES, 2001; United States Federal Government [US Govt], 2002).

Teaching is being reshaped through the constant and continuous process of evaluating teachers throughout their educational and professional careers. These teacher evaluation schemes have been driven by demands for public accountability. Yet, as the evidence presented in this article suggests, accountability-based teacher evaluation practices tend to increase stress, anxiety, fear and mistrust amongst teachers, and limit growth, flexibility and creativity. Teachers, as we will see, are scrambling to keep up with the demands of such evaluations, often at the expense of the high quality teaching that these policies aim to encourage.

This article provides a clearer understanding of the following questions: How and why are accountability-based teacher evaluation policies being implemented at this point in time across a wide variety of settings? What are the implications and effects of these evaluative policies and practices? And finally, how can we envision alternatives to the current regime of accountability-based teacher evaluation policies?

I Economic globalisation and teacher evaluation policies

Teacher evaluation policies are best understood within the context of the neo-liberal policies and processes associated with economic globalisation. Economic globalisation, the result of major transformations in the production of goods and services, is related to changing trends in the nature of work. Under economic globalisation we are witnessing the development of a global market that privileges a neo-liberal economic ideology. Moreover, the imperatives of global capital have imposed neo-liberal economic discipline on all levels of government so that politics has now become the practice of 'sound economic management' (Held & McGrew, 2000, p. 27). Characterised as managerialism, these policies entail the introduction of business values and practices into the public sector.

Bottery (1989) posits four reasons to explain why the public sector has turned to business for its management theory. First, there is the assumption that management strategies for one organisation (e.g. a private business) are appropriate for any organisation (e.g. an education system). Next, there has not been a history of public sector management strategies separate from those developed for businesses and therefore, when an area (or organisation) is weak in its own theory, it is likely to be vulnerable to external approaches. Third, given the emphasis on neo-liberal market economics, not surprisingly, policy makers have attempted to apply these approaches to non-business settings. Finally, during periods of financial cost-cutting, there is a general perceived need for all public sector domains to become more efficient as businesses have had to be.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

A Critical Analysis of Teacher Evaluation Policy Trends
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?