As broadly practiced, teacher evaluations in schools fail to provide a whole lot of useful information, according to a study conducted by the New Teacher Project.
Based on research surveys in 12 districts in four states, the report finds that teacher evaluations “tell us little about how one teacher differs from any other” and are essentially oblivious to gradations in instructional effectiveness.
Read the full report, Our National Failure to Acknowledge and Act on Differences in Teacher Effectiveness
Evaluation practices, the report says, are generally cursory and poorly implemented, and the vast majority of teachers are simply labeled as “satisfactory.”
Nor is information from evaluations frequently used to inform school instructional policy, including professional development programs. Some 73 percent of the teachers surveyed noted that their most recent evaluation did not specify any areas for professional development.
The report recommends that schools adopt more expansive performance-evaluation systems, including better training for administrators and integration with “human capital policies and functions.”
A version of this article appeared in the October 01, 2009 edition of Teacher PD Sourcebook