Tuesday, March 02, 2010

"Teacher evaluations have little to no impact on the quality of education or student learning"

The research is resoundingly consistent: Teacher evaluations have little to no impact on the quality of education or student learning (Colby, Bradshaw, Joyner, 2002; Flesher, Sommers, Brauchle, 2000; Frase & Streshly, 1994; Peterson, 2000; Cousins, 1995; Joint Committee, 2008; Shinkfield & Stufflebeam, 1995; Stiggins & Bridgeford, 1985).

That one of the early statements made in this article by Lindsay Noakes in the Journal of Multidisciplinary Evaluation. The most striking thing here is that Noakes is referring to all forms of teacher evaluation, including not just student evaluations but interviews, competency exams, student performance and classroom visits by peers and supervisors. The articles she sites are about K-12 teacher evaluation, but it looks like the complaints will carry over to the community college level. Surveys are criticized for not being tested for their validity (whether they measure what they say their measure) and reliability (whether they give similar results in similar situations). Class visits are criticized for the variety of subjective biases that come form the observer. Her bottom line rings true for me: "This is either because teacher evaluations cannot or, more likely, are not being used for the purpose of teacher improvement."

Noakes' article actually isn't that interesting apart from what it cites. She basically lists problems that other people have identified with teacher evaluation, and then borrows a checklist for good evaluations from someone else and says it should be applied to teacher evaluations. Noakes is a grad student at the Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University. In any case, here are the citations for the quotation above.

Colby, S. A., Bradshaw, L. K, & Joyner, R. L. (2002, April). Perceptions of teacher evaluation systems and their impact on school improvement, professional development, and student learning. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.
ED464916) Link.

Cousins, J. B. (1995). Using collaborative performance appraisal to enhance
professional growth: A review and test of what we know. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education 9(3), 199-222. Link

Flesher, J., Sommers, C., & Brauchle, P. (2000). Enhancing instructor evaluation. Performance Improvement, 39(8), 26-29. Link

Frase, L.E., & Streshly, W. (1994). Lack of accuracy, feedback, and commitment in
teacher evaluation. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 1, 47-57. Link

Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation. (2008). The personnel evaluation standards (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Link

Peterson, K. D. (2000). Teacher Evaluation: A comprehensive guide to new directions and practices. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. link

Shinkfield, A. J., & Stufflebeam, D. L. (1995). Teacher evaluation: Guide to effective practice. Boston: Kluwer. link

Stiggins, R. J., & Bridgeford, N. J. (1985). Performance assessment for teacher
development. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 7(1), 85-97 Link

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