Teacher Evaluation

“Evaluation is opportunity for valuable discussion, relationship building, and trust earning.  It should involve meaningful feedback, result in productive growth, and be craved–by both staff and evaluator.  When the evaluator sincerely cares, it shows.  When it shows, staff and evaluator are better for it.  When staff and evaluator are better for it, kids win.  And that should be the goal of evaluation.” (Evaluation in 2 Simple Steps)



Teacher evaluation is a contentious issue and a daunting task for teachers and administrators alike. How does one navigate the complexities?What factors should be included? How will the evaluation impact careers?

Based on my research, there appear to be two major threads in the teacher evaluation tapestry. One is quantitative, using various methods to collect student statistics (i.e. standardized tests) to measure teacher effectiveness. The other is qualitative, and determines effectiveness through peer or administrative observation. There are other methods that blend the quantitative and qualitative methods together. These aspire to reach a more balanced outcome and more accurate picture of teacher effectiveness. 

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The Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System epitomizes the quantitative method. Taking a cue from “big data” approaches to analysis, the TVAAS analyzes student data over a number of years to establish the student’s baseline score, and then to track the “value” that a particular teacher has added, measured by that student’s relative improvement on standardized testing. TVAAS compiles this data to create an evaluation of the teacher’s effectiveness.


Minnesota, my home state, utilizes an evaluation system called “Minnesota Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model, offered as a comprehensive approach to teacher evaluation that is coordinated and compatible with the Minnesota Teacher Evaluation Statute and the Minnesota Teacher Evaluation Default Model” (ACGC Teacher Growth Model).

The Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model presents a number of advantages to districts:

• Focuses evaluations on instructional elements shown by research to impact student achievement.

• Incorporates data from a variety of sources for a well-rounded assessment

• Encourages continual improvements in instruction through deliberate practice

• Integrates Dr. Marzano’s Casual Teacher Evaluation Model to build up evidence of effective instruction

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How is this system implemented? It identifies a clear relationship between Teacher Practice, Student Engagement, and Student Learning and Achievement. However, instead of relying primarily on student data (only 35%), its primary focus is more qualitative observations (50%) which include informal and formal observations. 

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Unlike the previous two methods, the Teach Now Clinical Evaluation utilizes an in-depth observation-based rubric. Each teacher candidate is observed by a skilled peer, who offers advice and observations based on their wealth of knowledge and experience.

I have the unique experience of writing this after I have already completed my Teach Now Clinical modules. My mentor was invaluable in offering precise, constructive, and useful feedback. Through our conversations, as well as her verbal and written explanations of my grade (based on the rubric), I was able to see visible growth through the clinical process. 

I appreciated my mentors feedback, as it helped me to set and achieve the following goals:

  1. Create a sense of community and belonging in the classroom.
  2. Set high expectations for all students.
  3. Collaborate with colleagues on an ongoing basis.
  4. Maintain professionalism in all areas.
  5. Assess lessons and “shift-gears”.

I prefer to be evaluated by systems such as the Teach Now Rubric, or Danielson’s Framework. As an educator I find these methods actually inform, improve, and encourage my pedagogy. 

Danielson’s Framework

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Teacher Evaluations. Retrieved May 22, 2017, from Ohio Department of Education, http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Teaching/Educator-Evaluation-System/Ohio-s-Teacher-Evaluation-System/OTES-Original-Framework-Graphic112015_acc.pdf.aspx

Evaluation in 2 Simple Steps. (2013, November 29). Retrieved May 24, 2017, from http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/9815

OECD. (n.d.). Teachers for the 21st Century Using Evaluation to Improve Teaching. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/site/eduistp13/TS2013%20Background%20Report.pdf

The New Teacher Project 2011. (n.d.). RATING A TEACHER OBSERVATION TOOL: Five ways to ensure classroom observations are focused and rigorous. Retrieved from https://tntp.org/assets/documents/TNTP_RatingATeacherObservationTool_Feb2011.pdf

Leading Forward . (n.d.). ACGC Teacher Growth Model. Retrieved from http://www.acgcfalcons.org/District/WBWF/ACGC%20Teacher%20Growth%20Model%20April%2014%202014.pdf

Education Minnesota. (n.d.). Teacher development and evaluation FAQ. Retrieved May 24, 2017, from http://www.educationminnesota.org/resources/teacher-development-and-evaluation/faq-general


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