Five Ways to Improve Teacher Evaluations

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Most of us are familiar with the basic practices that make up a good teacher evaluation process: observe, measure and track performance; give feedback effectively; conduct teacher evaluation meetings; and coach to support performance throughout the year.

There are, however, several other performance management practices that can help improve the effectiveness of your teacher evaluation process. Districts and even individual schools can easily adopt any or all of them to maximize the impact of evaluations.

Conduct Self-Assessments to Get Each Teacher’s Perspective

A fairly simple practice to implement at the district or school level is teacher self-assessments. You can use the same form you do for teacher evaluations, or create a slightly modified version. The purpose of the self-assessment is to get each teacher’s perspective on his or her performance. This is a powerful way to give educators a voice in the evaluation process and help them feel more engaged.

Administrators and principals unfamiliar with the practice often worry that teachers will give themselves glowing reviews and ratings, making the evaluation meeting more difficult when there are performance problems. Experience shows, however, that the opposite tends to be true. When we evaluate ourselves, we tend to be much harsher than others. Getting the teacher’s perspective is an invaluable way to get more information on performance and prepare the evaluator for the meeting. It prepares all parties to gain insight into expectations and address differences in opinion or perspective.

Seek the Opinions of Others with 360-Degree Reviews

Another effective technique that helps increase objectivity of teacher evaluations is gathering 360-degree feedback from others. Multi-rater feedback can help avoid bias, get a different perspective on teachers’ performance, and better identify areas requiring coaching or development.

You can collect feedback from other teachers, non-teaching professionals, and even parents, volunteers or students — anyone who interacts with the teacher on a regular basis and can give you insight into his/her performance. When you substantiate feedback by gathering it from multiple, credible sources, you make it more objective and increase its impact.

Align Teachers’ Goals with District Goals

When you’re assigning teachers goals as part of the evaluation process, it’s important to give these goals a larger context. This helps educators understand why their work is important and how they’re contributing to the district’s success. Research on engagement has shown that this context-setting is vital to performance. It helps staff feel that their work matters.

There’s a famous story about a visitor to NASA headquarters who came across a janitor sweeping the floor. When he asked the janitor what he was doing, the janitor replied: “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.” It’s this kind of goal alignment that helps drive up everyone’s performance and engagement.

Help Teachers Succeed with Development Plans

Districts and schools often do development planning separately from their teacher evaluation process. But staff development and performance improvement plans are much more powerful when they’re integrated. The teacher evaluation meeting is typically the prime time for discussing performance deficiencies. Creating and documenting development plans during the meeting therefore helps to communicate the evaluator’s and the district’s commitment to the teacher, and their expectations for improvement. This type of planning also gives the teacher a clear context for personal professional development.

The evaluation meeting is also a wonderful opportunity to discuss the teacher’s career aspirations, both short and long-term, and explore opportunities for advancement. Feeling that they have a career path is another key contributor to teacher engagement.

Reward Good Performance

You can help expand the value and impact of your teacher evaluation process by implementing a pay-for­ performance or other reward program. Performance ratings should be a known and visible factor in determining rewards. Merit increases, bonuses and other forms of reward or recognition should be integrated with your teacher evaluation process so that they serve to reinforce desired behaviors and performance.

Taking Teacher Evaluations to the Next Level

Teacher evaluations should be about much more than documenting and delivering feedback and coaching. When expanded beyond the basics, they become a powerful tool not only for helping educators develop and achieve their full potential, but also for helping drive student success.

Education World®

Copyright © 2012 Education World

4 Ways to Get a New Employee Off to the Perfect Start

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That interview you had right before you made the job offer? It’s not enough. Here are four things you must do on a new hire’s first day. You work hard to find, interview, and hire the right employees. They have great skills, great experience, and great attitude.

   Thoroughly describe how your business creates value.

New employees need to learn how to do their jobs, but first they need to thoroughly understand your company’s underlying value proposition and competitive advantage.

No matter what your business, one or two things truly drive results: Maybe it’s quality. Maybe it’s service. Maybe you’re the low-cost provider. Maybe it’s the personal connection you make with each individual customer, and the true sense of community you’ve worked hard to create.

Other aspects are important, but one or two are absolutely make-or-break

Map out the employee’s internal and external customers.

The new employee may have direct reports. She has external customers, even if she never meets them, and she definitely has internal customers. No job exists in a vacuum; understanding the needs of every constituent helps define the job and the way it should be done.

Take time to explain how the employee will create value for your business while serving all their internal and external customers. Achieving that balance is often tricky–don’t assume new employees will eventually figure it out on their own.

Set immediate, concrete goals–and start giving feedback.

Successful businesses execute. Your business executes. Set that productivity tone by ensuring every new employee completes at least one specific job-related task on their first day.

Why? Not only do you establish that output is all-important, your new employees go home feeling a sense of personal achievement. A whole day or days spent in orientation is boring and unfulfilling and makes the eventual transition to “work” harder.

Explain exactly why you hired them.

Every employee is hired for one or two specific reasons, but often those reasons get lost in all the fluff of the interview process. (Be honest: It’s nice to find a well-rounded employee, but most of the time you really need an employee who is a superstar at doing X.)

Sit down with new employees and share the primary reason you hired them. It’s a great opportunity to praise their skills and experience, and praise their attitude and work ethic. What new employee doesn’t like that? More importantly you reinforce the connection between their skills, experience, attitude, and work ethic and the actual job you hired them to perform.

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business

Education 2.0 vs Education 3.0

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We have been educated in a 1.0 education model, we are teaching in a 2.0 model but our students are living in a 3.0 model. These three models chronicle the major paradigmatic shifts that education has witnessed over the last century. They also represent, in an ironical way, the huge abyss between the actual needs of our students and what is actually being delivered to them in schools.
Below is a very interesting chart created by Dr John Moravec in which he compares between  the three models we mentioned above. Have a look and share with us what you think of it. Enjoy.