NJEA has long supported high standards for teacher evaluation. In a new document, “Establishing a Strong Evaluation System,” NJEA calls for a broad-based evaluation system based on reliable research.
An effective evaluation system should be comprehensive, looking closely at instruction, but also at a teacher’s preparation and planning, classroom environment and other professional responsibilities. It should utilize multiple measures of student progress and not rely primarily on standardized test scores. And it should be backed up by supports for teachers and administrators, built into the school day, including professional development, collegial coaching and other collaborative learning.
As noted in the report, an effective, comprehensive teacher evaluation system seeks to:
- build on and improve individuals’ knowledge, skills, and practice to enhance student instruction, programs, and services;
- ensure and enhance student learning and growth;
- inspire school staff to remain in their professions;
- provide opportunities for professional growth for each school staffer to ensure our educational programs remain current and relevant; and
- offer targeted support and assistance, when required.
Armed with research-based standards, criteria, and tools, we can build a strong statewide system. By adding greater accountability through enhanced observations and conferences, extensive training for both evaluators and those being evaluated, an intensive support mechanism for those who require assistance, resources to implement the plan and, when all else fails, using disciplinary tools already at our disposal, we can create a strong system that places improved instruction at the forefront.