NJEA has long supported high standards for teacher evaluation. An effective evaluation system should be comprehensive, looking closely not only at instruction and assessment, but also at a teacher’s preparation and planning, classroom environment, and other professional responsibilities. It should reflect multiple measures of student progress and not rely primarily on standardized test scores. An effective evaluation system should also include a discussion of the supports teachers need to be effective in their classrooms. And it should contain provisions for professional development, collegial coaching, and other collaborative learning opportunities.
Most important, evaluation should never be a one-way conversation. To that end, NJEA has designed a “Resource Guide” to help teachers take an active role in their evaluation and professional growth. The Resource Guide provides a framework for educators to document information about their classroom, students, professional practice, and activities that support student learning.
While the profile was designed specifically to assist teachers in districts piloting the state’s new teacher evaluation program, NJEA believes that the Resource Guide is helpful to any teacher who wants to take an active role in their evaluation.
NJEA recommends that you complete the sections of the guide that support your efforts to take an active role in your evaluation, and bring this information to your annual summative conference as evidence of your professional practice.
The guide contains the following components
Your evaluation might include a discussion of your years of teaching experience in your current assignment, number of total years teaching, as well as any awards or other recognition you received during your teaching career.
The guide allows you to document class size and the unique needs and exceptional skills of your students (number on free/reduced lunch, gifted, special needs, etc.). You are also provided the opportunity to identify the personnel assigned to assist you in your classroom as well as challenges faced by students in the community.
You may want to identify whether the district curriculum is aligned to state standards and identify recent changes to the curriculum. The guide also provides the opportunity for you to list new or needed technology and other resources to support the curriculum and the professional development opportunities provided by the district that are relevant to your teaching assignment.
Influences on Teaching and Learning
If you work in a transient community, it may be important to document the number of students transferred in and out of your classroom during the year – as well as average daily attendance of the class. You may also want to record your level of parent involvement and support.
Student Progress and Growth
The guide provides the opportunity for you to identify the skill levels of your students in the beginning of the year and in the spring. Multiple measures of student progress should be documented and reviewed to assure that students are on track and moving through the curriculum. Standardized test scores should never be the sole determiner of pupil proficiency.
Examples of multiple measures are:
- Teacher-set goals for student learning.
- Student performance assessments, including portfolios, projects, problem-solving protocols, and internships.
- Observations of and discussions with students by the teacher.
- Teacher-developed test and quizzes.
- Valid and reliable standardized tests.
- District-established assessments.
Observation Log and Lesson Self-Reflection
You may want to keep accurate records of each of your informal and formal observations by certified supervisors. Such records would include the time, date, name of evaluator, a description of the lesson and its goals, unusual occurrences, and suggestions from the evaluator. Since the purpose of evaluation is also to improve your practice, you should reflect on the lesson by noting strengths, obstacles to learning, evidence of student learning, and any professional development that might enhance your work with students related to the lesson. (See sample log and self reflection log on next page.)
New Jersey is a national leader in advancing collaborative opportunities for teachers to improve their craft. The Resource Guide provides the opportunity for you to identify the various collaborative professional experiences you have participated in during the school year.
Professional Development Plan
Part of the evaluation process requires teachers to develop a Professional Development Plan (PDP) in cooperation with their supervisor. You should be prepared to present your ideas by completing the professional development planner prior to your summative conference.
The newly revised model of the core teaching standards developed by the Interstate Teacher Assessment Consortium (INTASC) is the basis of most rigorous teacher evaluation systems in the United States. The standards define the performances, essential knowledge, and critical dispositions of effective teaching. Regardless of the evaluation model used in your district, teachers should be prepared to identify their strengths in meeting each of the INTASC standards during the summative conference.
If it is done correctly, your evaluation can be something you welcome as an opportunity to strengthen your skills and increase your effectiveness. That can only happen, however, if you are an active participant in the process. Using NJEA’s Resource Guide will assist in this endeavor. Go to njea.org and download the guide today!
Dr. Amy Fratz (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an associate director in NJEA’s Professional Development and Instructional Issues division. Dr. Rosemary Knab (email@example.com) is an associate director of Research.