The article, “Seeking Aid, School Districts Change Teacher Evaluations” gives a good overall look at new assessments for teachers that are set to be in place by the 2014-15 school year. An increasing number of states are directing districts to use these new evaluations in decisions about how teachers are granted tenure, promoted, or fired.
The new assessments will be based on two elements: how students’ perform in standardized testing, and classroom evaluation- which includes lesson plans and instructional materials. These evaluations will come from principals, peers, or outside evaluators. A 24-page rubric has been designed to give the evaluators some concrete things to look for when they are observing the teacher. I am very pleased that there is a rubric being given out as this will allow for thorough and fair feedback which I feel many teachers fail to get.
Though I hear a lot of frustration surrounding standardized testing I think that this is a fair thing to evaluate teachers and more importantly, students on, as one of our goals is of course, graduation. I also agree whole-heartedly with the idea of having observations inside the classroom. In my opinion, far too many teachers get too comfortable after a few years and become lazy, just simply collecting a paycheck and showing up on time. Most jobs, regardless of what sector, ask for regular assessments and/or check-ins that target weak employees or areas for improvement, why not education? Especially, when the idea of tenure comes into play.
Colorado has decided that starting in the 2014-15 school year, “anyone who receives an “ineffective” or “partially effective” rating for two consecutive years will be stripped of the state’s equivalent of tenure status” (NY Times). I would hope that teachers who do not meet satisfactory marks are given fair opportunity to improve and offered assistance on new teaching practices and methods. Perhaps, these teachers could be required to take a few classes or something?
Of course, I am not implying that I hope to see numerous teachers being fired but rather, that I hope these assessments offer advice for teachers whose methods seem to be failing, encouragement to teachers who are doing a stellar job, and if nothing else, an excuse to get principals in the classrooms. As one official from the state Education Department said, “It is not about a ‘gotcha’ game,” “It is about elevating the game so you get better at what you already do.” I also think that the in-class assessments would allow the principal and others to use successful teaching methods and pass them on to others in the same school who may be new to teaching or who just need to revamp their old ways.