Teacher Evaluations: Merit, Worth and the Courage to Act

One of the greatest influences on my thinking about evaluation is the work of Michael Scriven.  Currently Director of the Claremont Graduate University Claremont Evaluation Center, he has a research, teaching and consulting career extending more than 60 years. I first encountered his ideas when writing my doctoral dissertation in the 90’s, and, after all these years, still find hiswork, whether …

Conversation is essential to evaluation

Conversations make the evaluation process rich, meaningful, and credible. When evaluating teaching, the evaluator must work to understand and appreciate, what the teacher is doing, and the reasons for the choices the teacher has made. While the reasons for some may seem obvious, many will not be. It is in the post-observation conversations that these will be explored. Teaching is …

8 Tips and 2 Tests to stay out of social media trouble

There continue to be so many well publicized cases of people getting into terrible trouble for emails they sent or comments posted on social media. It’s remarkable that many teachers and public figures seem to have not yet learned to protect themselves. One can never be too careful. Whatever is posted, is there forever. It can never be withdrawn. Regardless …

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3 Myths of Teacher Evaluations

The teacher evaluation process is fraught with misconceptions. Dispelling the myths about teacher evaluation can lead to evaluations that are better understood and that contribute more to a positive school culture and improved school success. Let’s take on three of those myths. Myth #1: Teacher evaluation results in improvement of instruction. Many teacher evaluation policies give as a reason for …

The medium of the message in parent communication

When I was a school administrator, the most frequent complaints I received were around communications. “Why wasn’t I told earlier?” asked a dad unhappy with his child’s report card. Then, less frequently, a mom would complain that a teacher communicates too much. “I don’t want to hear about every bump in the road”, she might say after the umpteenth family …