Friday, April 4, 2014

Teacher Evaluation

Robert J. Marzano & Michael D. Toth Teacher Evaluation That Makes a Difference—A New Model for Teacher Growth and Student Achievement

This is our first year rolling out our new Teacher Evaluation Model. We are unofficially calling it year zero as we work out the particulars and gain a better understanding of the detailed requirements. As an instructional leader, I always want to be mindful of how to best implement a new initiative and clearly state its purpose for staff. Articulating my own thinking helps me support the continued conversations I will need to have to make it a worthwhile tool to continue our focus on equitable student achievement.

Marzano reminds us, “The quality of instruction matters.” The rigor, relevance, and relationships needed to focus on achievement for each of our students requires “change from a ‘status’ orientation to a ‘growth’ orientation for teachers.” In his book Teacher Evaluation, Marzano clearly summarized the two major changes being implemented in teacher evaluations. They are: (1) use of measure of student growth as indicators of teacher effectiveness, and (2) more rigor in measuring the pedagogical skills of teachers.” Most would agree this is a major shift of evaluation practices in the past.

Marzano’s teacher evaluation system is divided into four categories or domains; teach, plan, reflect, and share.

Marzano’s evaluation model includes a wide variety of instructional strategies within each domain that are closely linked with student achievement. Teachers can identify their areas of strength, and areas to improve on to begin prioritizing their own goals to enhance teaching and learning in their classroom and professional learning communities. Administrators can support a high degree of focus on student achievement with targeted, on-going, professional development opportunities in staff meetings, school improvement days, etc.

Just like our teachers who are moving students forward by developing a growth mindset with an emphasis on effort rather than being smart, as an administrative lead learner I can do the same with teaching staff. The new evaluation system has two purposes, development and measurement with the overall goal of self-improvement, but it is not a journey meant to take alone. It is a collaborative initiative with the administrator, coaches, like-colleagues, and grade level teams working together to enhance what we do at school each day; teach and learn.

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