Description of the Teacher Evaluation System
· Conceptual framework
· Connection to human capital management and the district's mission/values
· Types of evidence reviewed
The effectiveness of the teachers at Northern Highlands is measured through the use of our newly-created rubric. During the 2009-2010 school year, the administration and department supervisors decided to change the observation form from a narrative format to a rubric. The goal was to develop a list of research-based instructional priorities, or a vision for instruction, that would be incorporated into the evaluation system. This was designed to replace the practice of merely highlighting what went on in a lesson and its general effectiveness.
One of the underlying influences behind the project was the work of Dr. Margaret Wheatley, an international management consultant who studies organizational behavior. In her book Leadership and the New Science (2006), Wheately wrote, “People want to be grounded in purpose. Our real work should be to return to our center, our purpose. Ask ‘how can we as an organization be together in conversations about why we do this work?' Engage in meaning making.” We set out to do just that. We wanted to develop a common vocabulary for good teaching that would apply to all subject areas.
The work of the administrators and supervisors initially focused on the mission statements each department wrote during the 2008-2009 school year. Each supervisor was asked to develop a short list of instructional priorities, given what the mission statement said should be done. Those lists were then combined, and they served as a starting point for discussion. Next, in order to get a global perspective and an understanding of what colleges and businesses are saying our graduates need, the group read The Global Achievement Gap (2009) by Tony Wagner. Wagner is the co-director of The Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, which is a knowledge-development and capacity-building organization focused on effective strategies for school and district improvement.
After that, the group studied Robert Marzano's work. They viewed a PowerPoint about his book Classroom Instruction that Works (2001), and then everyone read his 2007 work The Art and Science of Teaching. Both of these books feature research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. The defining factor of Marzano's findings is that they are based on a meta-analysis, a study of studies, not just a single study. His work encompasses 30 years of research.
Additional reading included Schooling by Design (2007) by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe and Results Now: How We Can Achieve Unprecedented Improvements in Teaching and Learning (2006) by Mike Schmoker.
The draft rubric was piloted in the spring of 2010 when department supervisors used it for walkthroughs in departments other than their own. It was finalized during the summer and became operational this school year. Components or elements of the rubric include the following:
1. Instructional Priorities:
- 21st Century Skills
- Evidence of Student Engagement
- High Order Questioning on Assessments and in Class
- Transfer of Learning/ Connectivity
2. Lesson Objective
3. Classroom Management
4. Lesson Execution
The rating scale for each element is as follows:
Area of concern
- Not observed
· Procedures Used
Non-tenured teachers are observed A minimum of three times during the school year and tenured teachers are observed at least once. Post observation meetings are conducted to review the strengths of each lesson and also review any areas of concern. Department supervisors and administrators perform the evaluations. All teachers also have an end-of-year evaluation.
· Use of Results
Results of the evaluations are synthesized three times a year – November, March, and June. The distribution of the percentage of teachers scoring in each possible rating is noted for each element. This provides us with an overall picture of how the teachers are doing as a whole and informs us of possible needed professional development. The analysis is then disaggregated by department to indicate the strengths and areas of concern at the department level as well.
For the 2010-2011 school year, 135 certified staff members were evaluated. As a result of our district's former evaluation process, ninety eight percent met our criteria for outstanding and/or acceptable performance. 2% have yet to meet our expectations. Because the Northern Highlands Regional High School District has fewer than 10 principals, there is no data to report.