Education Report Roundup

Teacher Evaluation

By Stephen Sawchuk — March 16, 2010 1 min read

Three networks of charter schools use teacher-evaluation systems as a formative tool to structure ongoing observations of teaching and conversations about improving teaching practice, but they focus less attention on using the systems to give teachers a summative, end-of-year rating, a study says.

Released last week by the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank, the study is one of the first to look at teacher-evaluation policies in charter schools, which typically have more flexibility to set such policies than regular public schools do.

Researchers Heather Peske of the Boston-based Teach Plus, a group that connects teachers to policy, and Morgaen Donaldson of the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education, interviewed teachers and administrators in five schools located in three separate charter-management organizations, or CMOs.

Among the other findings: In the two nonunionized CMOs, observations tended to be unstructured and unannounced. Though annual dismissal rates were higher than the national average of 1.4 percent in regular public schools in two of the CMOs, they did not appear to exceed 11 percent of the schools’ teaching forces.

The study also outlines challenges faced by the principals and teachers in using the evaluation systems.

A version of this article appeared in the March 17, 2010 edition of Education Week as Teacher Evaluation