From Gotcha to Understanding: Creating the Next-Generation of Teacher Evaluations

By Ullman, Ellen | Technology & Learning, April 2014 | Go to article overview

From Gotcha to Understanding: Creating the Next-Generation of Teacher Evaluations


Ullman, Ellen, Technology & Learning


Nothing evokes as much rear in a teacher's mind as the thought of his or her principal or other administrator popping in on a random Tuesday morning and saying, "Hi! I'm here to observe You." Much like we wouldn't want colleges to accept students based solely on their SAT scores. teachers don't want to be evaluated solely on One 15-minute observation.

"Unannounced teacher observations remind me of Ready or not, here 1 come!' from the childhood game Hide & Seek," says Patrick Larkin, assistant superintendent for learning at Burlington (MA) Public Schools (BPS). lie knows that perpetuating a culture of distrust won't improve teaching and learning, so instead. lie and other like-minded district leaders are building collaborative environments that provide multiple opportunities for teachers and administrators to share and discuss best practices. Here's a look at three districts that are using technology to turn teacher evaluations into a more positive experience.

GOOGLE DRIVE MAKES IT EASY TO SHARE EVIDENCE

"If you want change the culture. you need more than a checklist," says Larkin. His district used to evaluate tenured teachers every other year and non-tenured teachers mull i pie times every year until they became tenured. But as a Race to the lop district. BPS now evaluates every teacher annually, with state-mandated unannounced observations on the docket. In the past, evaluators would work from a checklist, but Larkin has re-focused the format so the teams have conversations about best practices, good teaching, and learning. U using a state-generated list of items on which lo evaluate teachers, the district chose the eight elements they thought were most significa at and shared them with teachers.

Next, BPS created Google Drive folders for each administrator to share with the teachers he or she evaluates. Each teacher's file contains tt folders. Eight folders are designated for each of the evaluation elements, and two folders con Lain two teacher-created goals (one folder is for a student learning goal and one folder is for a professional practicegoal). Teachers-who all have iPads--must upload two or three pieces of evidence for each folder, such as videos, less in plans, blog posts, photos. or examples of student work. "Teachers share evidence and the evaluators throw in stuff too, such as examples they've seen of great collaboration. When it's time to sit down for a summative or formative assessment, the meetings are much richer and more productive. No more pulling stuff from three- ring binders on the fly. Now the work is being done continually." says Larkin.

To help teachers get used to gatthing evidence, which is new for many of these teachers, the district had an after-schoid PD session in which teachers met in grade- and subject-level teams to talk about what they were using to support their work. "We're creating an evidence gallery for the entire district. I'm working with the head of the teachers' union to compile evidence and artifacts from the eight elements to create a public model for all staff to see. We aren't a I ways clear on what would be good evidence so we're sharing that," Larkin shares

TALENT ED PERFORM STREAMLINES THE PROCESS

At Quakertown Community School District (QCSD) in [Add city] Pennsylvania, Superintendent Lisa Andrejko is cognizant of the difference between supervision and evaluation. "Stipervision is the collaborative process in which you change behavior. Evaluation conies at the end," she says. "In our district, teacher evaluation is based on improvement and collaborative dialogue." In fact, the district's model is based on a state rubric, self-evaluation. teacher reflection, goal setting. and artifacts to paint a robust picture of teacher supervision.

QCSD uses Netchemia's Talent Ed Perform. and Andrejko says the program has enhanced the evaluation process tenfokl because it's easy to use. et wourages dialogue. …

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