Saturday, March 3, 2012

Keeping Teacher Evaluations Fresh

We are in the second year of our newest teacher evaluation process. We have adapted Charlotte Danielson's model found in Enhancing Professional Practice: A Framework for Teaching (2007). We keep her four categories of a teaching position, (Planning and Preparation, Classroom Environment, Instruction, Professional Responsibilities) and have added keys to each that reflect the expectations of a teacher at Calvary Christian Academy.

Our process includes the following steps:

1. Teacher self-evaluation of strengths and weaknesses in each of the four categories

2. A pre-evaluation meeting where teacher shares his/her self-evaluation

3. A formal scheduled observation of the teacher in his/her classroom

4. A post-evaluation meeting where the administrator shares the teacher's strengths and areas that need improvement.

We like this method because it examines the teacher both inside and outside the classroom. We have had many teachers who are wonderful in the classroom in front of students but could certainly improve in the professional responsibilities. This method allows for a balanced evaluation.

We also like that the teacher self-evaluates first. Often a teacher is more critical of himself than an administrator is and therefore we can encourage the teacher and help them along the way. We also find that meeting together allows for stimulating conversation and a way to join together to further train the teacher.

Even though I think the current process is efficient and runs well, a teacher made a comment to me during our pre-evaluation meetings this year that still has me thinking. He worked in business for many, many years and saw too much red tape and paperwork for the sake of paperwork. He questioned whether using the same system each year was truly necessary and productive. His overall point: A self-evaluation using the same criteria every year could become rote rather than helpful.

So my question regarding teacher evaluation: Should the same process be used year after year or should it be amended to keep things fresh? If we should amend things, how can that be done while still incorporating the elements we like from our current system?


  1. I think it's good to bring in some fresh elements each year, while holding to the general format. For example, I think it would be useful to have a place to discuss teaching goals and five year plans to encourage teachers themselves to be passionate lifelong learners. Then each year, you could evaluate how those goals are being met.

  2. This is good advice, Hannah. Perhaps discussing the teaching goals and five year plans earlier in the year and then checking in during the spring would be helpful for all of us.