Sunday, February 22, 2015

Teacher Effectiveness or Evaluation?

The goal of implementing any comprehensive teacher evaluation program is to improve teacher effectiveness. In theory, the structure is already in place nationwide. Administrators conduct a series of formal announced/unannounced observations (the exact number depending on tenured status), provide feedback via post-conferencing sessions, and combine the observation score with some form of student growth, and/or statewide assessment score to produce a final rating.
Does such a process guarantee improved teacher effectiveness? The jury is still out; however, early returns suggest that what occurs during formal observations does not necessarily align with the day-to-day cycle in most K-12 classrooms. Bringing your “A” game daily to the classroom is an immense challenge given the amount of BTU’s consumed in preparation and delivery of quality instruction. Just ask professional athletes who are expected to perform at their highest level daily or weekly and are ridiculed by fans for “taking a night off” based on the game’s outcome.
From a professional development perspective, creating a professional development plan based on two or three formal “beauty contest” observations does not reveal the greatest instructional needs for the other 177 instructional days. Moving the proverbial pendulum from “evaluation” to “effectiveness” requires that targeted recommendations to elevate teacher effectiveness occur during one’s daily rhythm of instruction.
Placing a renewed emphasis on classroom walkthroughs can accomplish this feat. Completing frequent 5 to 7 minute H.E.A.T. (Higher order thinking, Engaged learning, Authentic connections, Technology use) Walkthroughs can provide leaders with both the empirical support and practicality to establish ongoing professional development that is  targeted and specific to each staff member’s greatest instructional needs and concerns.
At LoTi, we have created a Danielson Crosswalk for the H.E.A.T. Walkthrough instrument that auto-populates Domains 1-3 of the Danielson Framework for Teaching to provide teachers with a snapshot of their actual Danielson ratings based on the daily pulse of their classroom interactions. Only through frequent feedback using common vocabulary in a non-evaluative setting can change happen leading to improved teacher effectiveness and elevated levels of academic growth in the classroom.