Magazine article Techniques

Do Your Evaluations Make You a Better Career and Technical Education Teacher?

Magazine article Techniques

Do Your Evaluations Make You a Better Career and Technical Education Teacher?

Article excerpt

Here are four questions for car and technical education (CTE) teachers to consider:

1. Are your performance evaluations conducted by an expert in your field?

2. Do you receive great teaching ideas and support from your evaluator as part of your performance feedback?

3. Are meaningful and relevant student growth and outcome measures incorporated into your evaluations?

4. Are you a better CTE teacher because of your evaluations?

If you answered "yes" to all four questions, congratulations! Your evaluations are likely promoting your professional growth. If you did not, here aresome criteria of great evaluations and of how your school, district and stateeducation leaders can ensure that your evaluations support your growth as a teacher.

CTE teachers should look forward to evaluations, confident that they will receive detailed, meaningful feedback that will help them grow in the profession. Evaluation systems can generate rich information to inform professionallearning, but only when the system design and processes hold credibility among CTE teachers and promote opportunities for professional growth and support.

CTE teacherevaluation systems that generate continuous improvement have three essentials

* Strong, meaningful performance measures that clarify what good teaching for CTE teachers looks like; that fit the unique roles, responsibilities and contexts in which CTE teachers work: and that identify what student outcomes should look like in highperforming CTE programs.

* Fair and accurate evaluations by knowledgeable, welltrained evaluators.

* Evidence based performance feedback that helps CTE teachers better understand (I) their impact on students;(2) what, specifically, they're doing well and in what ways they need to improve; and(3) professional learning opportunities that focus on where CTE teachers should spend their limited time to improve their performance.

Meaningful Performance Measures

All evaluation measures should represent the goals that CTE teachers have for their students, such as gaining content knowledge, earning industry credentials and graduating from high school on time. Evaluation measures should also produce data that evaluators can use to give CTE teachers meaningful feedback. These measures should help CTE teachers better understand what great teaching in their content areas looks like and how they can move toward becoming great teachers.

Practice Measures

Measures of teacher practice often include observation rubrics that evaluators use to observe classes and gather evidence of effective practice. Practice measures can give CTE teachers specific information on their general instructional practices, including how well they plan their lessons and collaborate with colleagues. In most districts, the same rubric is used to evaluate all teachers, regardless of their grade or subject area. Using one practicerubric means that all teachers are held to the same professional standards and performance expectations.

To generate meaningful feedback, however, evaluators must be able to apply the practice measures accurately and consistently in CTE classrooms. Examples of what different performance levels look like in CTE classrooms ensure evaluators- - especially those who lack expertise in CTE content areas- - can gather accurate observation data and provide better performance feedback. See Figure 1.

CTE teachers, instructional leaders and content area experts should be involved in crafting examples to describe precisely what great, good or unsatisfactory teaching practices look like in GTE classrooms. Using GTE teacher-vetted examples of practice can lead to fair ratings and, most important, to specific feedback that is immediately relevant to CTE teachers and is designed to help them improve their practice.

Moreover, peer observers, such as exemplary CTE teachers from across the district or region, community college professors or industry experts trained to conduct observations, can share meaningful information and advice on CTE teachers' practice. …

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