Readers Write: Grading Teachers Isn't Enough; Teachers Deserve Useful Evaluation and Support

Article excerpt

How to measure teachers and schools

The Aug. 13 cover story, "The measure of a teacher," reminds us that too often the dialogue on teacher evaluation focuses on its potential for harm, rather than the benefits that good systems, infused with teacher buy-in, can bring.

High-quality evaluation and support systems ensure that our best teachers receive the recognition and further development they deserve and need, while weaker teachers have the opportunity and resources to improve. Accountability, however, must go both ways. As teachers are accountable to school leaders, our leaders must be accountable to teachers. Administrators must create fair and supportive evaluation systems that empower teachers.

First, systems must include multiple measures of teacher effectiveness, incorporating student achievement, observations, and input from students. Second, evaluations must be administered fairly. Schools must continuously improve how they measure and calculate success; all measures must be reliable and valid. Observations, in particular, require training and careful planning to be administered fairly.

Finally, schools must give teachers access to professional development that is meaningful and aligned with the evaluation system. That means trading in the quick workshops for intensive coaching and programs proven to improve the classroom interactions that matter most.

Virginia Vitiello

Research and evaluation director at Teachstone

Charlottesville, Va. …