Saturday, February 21, 2015

Finding the right problems in teacher evaluation

Teacher evaluation and feedback systems are complex beasts that hopefully serve many purposes and connect many dots. Problems can present themselves from many different perspectives and solutions can create unintended consequences. 

There is no easy answer but it does mean we have to constantly reassess the truth of our own conventional wisdom and keep our eyes on the big prize when deciding how to respond to potential issues.

See my post on Flypaper about getting observations right about balancing potential problems with long term solutions.

A Decision-making Question - Compared to What?

One of the ways I think about data, and also the purpose of teacher evaluation in general, is whether the information presenting itself is useful for decision-making. Ultimately, that decision-making is what much of policy is about. Are we making the best decisions possible, as a teacher, as a school leader, as a district staffer, certainly as a bureaucrat tasked with coaxing policy-making aspirations into in-reality improvements.

How you process all this brand new information is an important part of the decisions you end up making. You can see my post on the EDGEucator blog about the decision-making implications of the question "Compared to what?"