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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Adapting School Accreditation Methods to Teacher Evaluations?

Today, I was reviewing different accreditation organizations during my master's class on Measurement and Evaluation: SACS, WACS, CIS, NEASC, NWCCU and others. Though they have some differences, most agree on certain core premises. I found a few that could be translated to teacher evaluations to make those a more personal and effective process: self-study, mission alignment and a continuos improvement plan.
In my experience, most teacher evaluations consist of one or several visits by the evaluating administrator taking notes on what he/she perceives in a lesson. The evaluator looks for specific indicators and marks findings in rating scales.
An obvious flaw with this method is the lack of input from the teacher. The evaluation is completely generic for every teacher, and he/she is not identified with it. That is why I believe that bringing some aspects of evaluation from school accreditation agencies to teacher evaluations could be very valuable. First of all, the self-study undergoes a series of reflective exercises from the teacher to identify strengths and opportunities for growth. The points the teacher decides to target should be aligned to the school's mission or overarching goals. Finally, a plan for continuos improvement will set a process cycle of identifying the teacher's goals, putting them into place, reviewing their effectiveness and adjusting accordingly. With the use of peer evaluations and administrator feedback, teacher evaluations can be a more friendly and effective way of improving the quality of teaching.