evaluating teachers

It seems that there is another swing in education toward teacher evaluation, as I caught up it in the NY Times.


One person put it succinctly: “Are they going to be giving us true feedback?” she asked. “Or are they just going to be filling out a form?”


I think that really sums up my feelings. When I heard about the TPA (postponed indefinitely), I was worried about the test for many reasons, but a big portion of it is how they’re doing it, and how I can use that information. It’s the same with standardized testing. There could be a lot more use out if it than evaluating teachers/schools. What about a test that we can use to gauge where students are at the start of the year, something valid for teachers and students.


It’s the same for teachers. Is it just going to be a checklist? What do all the prompts mean? How can an evaluation be truly objective? I honestly think most teachers want to be better teachers. And evaluations, if done right, could work just for that purpose. But it won’t be an easy or cheap (in time or money) to properly evaluate teachers to make them better, and live up to the professional standard for which we all strive.

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4 thoughts on “evaluating teachers

  1. I think you really bring up a lot of great points about evaluations and standardized testing. After leaving class on Monday, many thoughts of grades and evaluations were swirling around in my head from the conversations we had in our Seminar class. Our cohort is a very driven group and I know that we strive to do our best in each class that we have regardless of whether it is for a grade or just credit. I know that some people believe that by having a credit/no credit class, that the pressure is off and they do not have to work as hard to try to get that 3.5, 3.7, or 4.0. Does that mean if evaluations for teachers are just checklists that they don’t have to work as hard either, because they just have to get the pass? I agree that if evaluations can be done properly, they can be very powerful tools. Although it is a relief to get that pass mark, there is so much more to learn from feedback. It helps you know where you have been, where you are, and where you are looking to go. We want to become teachers to help students learn and be the best they can be, why would we expect anything less of ourselves?

  2. janevangalen says:

    Excellent points …. and just to clarify, you will be doing the TPA and it will be scored. The change that we just learned about is that it won’t be part of the state’s decision about whether you’ll be certified. That use of it has been put off another year. The TPA is far from a perfect or comprehensive assessment, yet it is about planning for real kids, engaging them in learning, and being able to then speak to what they learned as you plan next steps for them. More to come on all of that!

  3. It is quite interesting that we’ve been focusing so much on assessment this quarter and what good assessment looks like and accomplishes. From what I understand and just my experience in the tests we’ve had to take thus far to become a teacher, we receive scores and a pass/fail at the end of it. Where is the, where do I go from here? How do I get better? How do I take what I know and use it to continue building knowledge? As we’ve been discussing in our classes, just because you finished a test or a class, it doesn’t mean you are done. I hope that above getting a good score on the TPA, that we receive valuable and detailed feedback on how to grow as a teacher and where our next steps should be.

  4. […] writing and tried to add something I have learned along the way that was important to me.  Another blog post  I commented on this quarter was about evaluating teachers.  I tried to pose questions to […]

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