Tagged “School Improvement”

James H. Stronge

What’s Wrong with Teacher Evaluation and How to Fix It: Osmosis

Unfortunately, and despite what appears to be a concerted effort across the last several decades, the assumption that a picture of educator skill and practice can be gained through observation alone simply doesn't work. In the final analysis, this simplistic approach to teacher evaluation most certainly results in neither teacher improvement nor increased accountability. Teachers don't value or trust their own evaluation, administrators view it as merely one more bureaucratic hurdle to check off, and it has no credibility with parents and other stakeholders.

So, what can we do about the abysmal state of teacher evaluation? Firstly, we need to recognize what's wrong, and secondly, we need to fix it. In the first post in this series, I discussed how observation does not equal evaluation. Today's post is about purposeful, data-driven evaluation.

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Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Fair and Effective Teacher Evaluation

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Teacher quality is the most important in-school factor that influences student learning and achievement. Research shows that students with high-performing teachers can progress three times as fast as students with low-performing teachers and each student deserves access to highly effective teachers in every subject. In turn, all teachers deserve a fair and accurate assessment of their skills, how they perform in the classroom, and how they can improve. Teacher effectiveness is dependent on accurate and fair evaluations based on multiple measures, including—but not solely based around—their students' performance in the subjects they teach.

Teachers should be evaluated based on their performance in their own subject area using a range of criteria, including observations, peer reviews, parental or student input, and analysis of agreed-on student learning evidence. In this episode, we discuss effective teacher evaluation that produces results that truly benefit students, schools, and educators. You'll hear from

If the ultimate goal of teacher evaluation is to improve student performance, what should evaluators look for?

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Engineering School Cultures for Successful Teacher Evaluation

Post written by Elle Allison, cofounder and president of Wisdom Out in Danville, Calif. Wisdom Out is a leadership and organizational development company that helps people sustain transformational change and bring their best initiatives to deep implementation. Connect with Allison by e-mail at elle@wisdomout.com. This post was originally featured in ASCD Express.

As many states prepare to launch new educator evaluation systems and amidst ongoing controversy about how to make them fair and meaningful, teachers and administrators alike would do well to ask these questions: What is it about the current culture in which we are introducing these new instruments that will imperil their effectiveness and prevent them from helping teachers and students? How can we engineer cultures for effective teacher evaluation?

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James H. Stronge

What’s Wrong with Teacher Evaluation and How to Fix It: Observation Equals Evaluation

So, where do we begin?

Teacher evaluation, throughout most of our recent history, has been practiced religiously with the intent—or, at least, hope—that it will improve performance. The assumption underlying much of teacher evaluation practice goes something like this:


Teacher Observation = Teacher Evaluation = Teacher Improvement


We know that this system does not work. A picture of educator skill and practice cannot be gained through observation alone, and not all evaluation processes promote professional growth and affect student achievement. In this series of blog posts, I attempt to offer an analysis of three contemporary teacher evaluation practices within a problem/solution framework.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Insights About Teacher Evaluation

Teacher Evaluation - ASCD Educational Leadership

The role of teacher evaluation is among the most contentious issues in education today. Even when there is general agreement that teachers' performance should be assessed in some way, there is vigorous disagreement about how those assessments should be conducted and how the results should be used.

If the ultimate goal of teacher evaluation is to improve student performance, what should evaluators be looking for? And if teachers fail to measure up to whatever standards have been set, what should the consequences be?

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Klea Scharberg

The Way We Do School Improvement

Every school has a culture. Some are positive, while others are toxic; many are somewhere in between. A school's culture affects the lives of everyone in the building. Educators working in a positive school culture (PDF) experience collegiality, trust, and tangible support as leaders and peers, creating an environment where there are high expectations, involvement in decision making, and open communication. Students entering a positive school culture feel safe, engaged, and connected and see school as a place where they can learn and contribute to the world around them.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Building School Culture: A Tale of Two Cities

Academics are important in any school, but some school leaders say the idea of school culture is perhaps just as important. In this video, a reporter visited schools in Detroit and New Orleans to see what school culture is all about.

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Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Respecting and Reflecting School Culture

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A positive school culture is the cornerstone of a good school and the foundation for school improvement. School culture encompasses the schoolwide ethos and the culture of individual classrooms, high expectations for learning and achievement, a safe and caring environment, shared values and relational trust, a powerful pedagogy and curriculum, high student motivation and engagement, a professional faculty culture, and partnerships with families and the community. It is constantly being shaped through our interactions, individual identities, beliefs, traditions, experiences, and community diversity. Research shows that successful schools with positive, effective school cultures are places that foster teacher learning and motivate students to learn.

Many schools may be in the process of implementing a program or process to support a whole child approach to education. Other schools may be looking at how to sustain what has already been achieved or developed. Fully embedding a whole child approach into the culture so that it becomes an integral part of what we do and who we are as schools and communities is key to ensuring that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged and prepared for their future college, career, and civic lives.

As Harvard educator Roland Barth once observed, "A school's culture has far more influence on life and learning in the schoolhouse than the state department of education, the superintendent, the school board, or even the principal can ever have."

In this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, Klea Scharberg, project manager for whole child programs at ASCD, talked with members of the Special Olympics National Youth Activation CommitteeSpecial Olympics Project UNIFY is a whole child partner—about what a safe and positive school culture means to them, student voice and leadership, and why they are committed to being agents of change for their communities and young people across the United States. You'll hear from

  • Daniel Fink, originally from Alaska and currently attending Washington State University;
  • Kelsey Foster, from South Carolina;
  • Heather Glaser, from Wyoming; and
  • Bernice Higa-French, from Hawaii.

How does the culture of your school and community affect the success of your students?

"It's not necessarily that something is different about the school. They don't have different curriculum that they teach—no, it's just that it's more integrated and inclusive. You can walk down the hallway and you're not afraid of talking to anyone because of their race or their background, or anything like that. ... You walk in and there's just a smile on your face—and you don't necessarily know why—and you want to know more about why [the school culture] is that way."

—Daniel Fink

Sean Slade

Are We Teaching the Academic or Are We Teaching the Whole Child?

This question was tweeted out from the recent Australian Council for Educational Leaders Conference in Brisbane and sums up one of the key questions being asked not only Down Under, but also around the globe. It is one of the bigger questions that must we must ask before we try to answer others around merit pay, large-scale testing (NAPLAN), national curriculum, and school rankings.

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Kristen Pekarek

National Health Education Week Kicks Off Today

National Health Education Week 2012

National Health Education Week 2012 kicks off today! This year's celebration looks to promote and establish healthy behavior among U.S. youth through the theme, "Adolescent Health: Planting Seeds for a Healthier Generation." As part of the awareness week, whole child partner the Society for Public Health Education will offer free resources to professionals who work with kids in schools and communities on the following themes.

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