Teacher Evaluation to Enhance Professional Practice

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

9
Track II—The Professional Development Track
Professional development is the process by which competent teachers achieve higher professional competence and expand their understanding of self, role, context, and career (Duke & Stiggins, 1990). What influences a teacher to move toward increased professional growth? We find that it is not only the teacher's own motivation, awareness, and imagination, but also the policies and practices of the schools in which she teaches. Schon (1983, p. 338), in discussing the organizational conditions that promote reflective practice, noted the importance of “flexible procedures, differentiated responses, and decentralized responsibility for judgment and action.” These conditions are at the heart of the design of Track II—professional growth.Most teachers are neither probationary nor marginal. Consequently, the professional growth track becomes the dominant strand within the evaluation system. This track could be the norm for the majority of the staff (90 percent or more in many districts), with the following characteristics:
The most experienced staff (average age for tenured teachers in many states and districts is in the mid-40s, with 15 or more years of experience).
The most confident (“I have ways of doing things that work for me”).
The most vocal, opinionated, and influential (this group includes the union leadership and the group that exerts the majority of informal leadership).

In addition, new designs for this track diverge from traditional evaluation processes much more than do the Track I and Track III strands. Consequently, local evaluation committees must pay particular attention to the design of this program. Fortunately, several new systems have been in place long enough to offer guidelines for other districts to use. We presented some of the general guidelines in previous chapters. Lessons and experiences from these pioneering systems have helped shape our ideas and suggestions presented in this chapter.


Clarifying the Purpose of Track II

Track II programs imply an acceptance of alternative forms of assessment and a commitment to change the evaluation system. The real issue for a local evaluation committee is how to determine the relationship between formative and summative evaluation and the amount of time, energy, and resources given to each. We

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