The increasing flexibility enjoyed by academies and other schools over teachers’ pay and changes in the appraisal regulations in 2012 give schools in England a real opportunity to shape teacher evaluation and development to improve standards and reduce in-school variations between subjects and between pupils of different backgrounds.
This report is written by Richard Murphy.
Ten Tips for Successful Teacher Evaluation
- Schools should not rely on one single approach to teacher appraisal or evaluation. Instead they should consider using a mix of value added or progress measures, classroom observations and pupil surveys. Ultimately the mix chosen should be at the discretion of the headteacher with knowledge of the strengths of each.
- A clear system should be developed for teacher appraisal that is implemented fairly and consistently for all teachers.
- External advice should be used, where possible, to assess the quality and standards of a school’s system and to assure staff of its fairness and governors of its robustness.
- Staff sessions should be used to discuss the new system and help shape its effective implementation.
- Staff involved in evaluation should be properly trained, and school leaders should ensure that they are working within the agreed standards for the school.
- Good feedback is at the heart of successful evaluation, if it is to lead to improved teaching. School leaders should ensure that there is proper one-to-one discussion about the results of any evaluation.
- While appraisal and evaluation should focus on classroom activity, teachers’ contributions to extra-curricular activities, including sports, trips and clubs, should also be recognised.
- Value added or progress measures, rather than absolute test or exam results, should be the primary data used in evaluating performance, as they are the most objective and comparable assessment of a teacher’s contribution. It is important that robust baseline data is used.
- Developmental and evaluative classroom observations should be carried out separately, to promote honest feedback. It may make sense for peers to be involved in developmental observations but those for appraisal purposes being conducted by members of the school leadership team. There should be clear standards and protocols for observations, perhaps in a school handbook.
- Pupil surveys should be clearly structured, be age appropriate, and should complement other measures.