Five Questions to Ask: Teacher Evaluation

  1. What are your state’s policies regarding teacher evaluations? To what extent, if any, do they incorporate student achievement? In states with mandatory evaluations, some districts have wide latitude as to how such evaluations are implemented. What is your district’s policy? Does it have union/teacher support?
  2. Assessments are only required in math and reading. How are teachers in other subjects evaluated, if they are evaluated at all? How are teachers in non-tested grades handled?
  3. What weight is given to student achievement in your district’s evaluation policies? Are other methods, such as classroom observations and student ratings of teachers, also included? If observations are conducted, how often, and what are the qualifications of the evaluators? What other data sources are being used?  Some of the better systems are using “professional portfolios” and evidence such as student work and unit plans.
  4. A major goal of teacher evaluations is to give instructors “real time” information about their performance so they can use it to change and improve their instruction. To what extent is this happening? Is the information teachers getting timely? Do they feel it is helpful or punitive?
  5. In your district, how are good teachers rewarded and ineffective teachers handled? Have any teachers been fired for poor performance in the last five years? How about the past 10?