Evaluating the Evaluation

Evaluating the Evaluation

This recent article from the Hechinger Report (Will New Teacher Evaluations Help or Hurt Chicago's Schools?) focuses on the experience of principals and teachers at three CPS schools (John Hancock and Jenner and Robert Emmet Elementary) where they've been implementing the new teacher evaluation program this year. The old one was insufficient, everyone agreed.  The new one sounds like a lot of work. Is it worth it?

There's lots of first-hand reporting -- a principal hugging her teachers and playing music for them over the school loudspeakers during the strike --  and a good set of paragraphs linking the Chicago program to what's going on nationally.  The article notes that CPS principals are also being evaluated in new ways, including school growth measures.  But training on the new evaluation is lengthy, and this year has been notoriously full of distractions - the strike, the closings, the violence.

What's the process been like at your school?  Has it dramatically changed the principal's job (or yours)?  Is it going to help make teachers better and kids learn more, or is it too weak (or bad) and has this year been too distracting for it to have any real effect?


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  • It is telling that CPS would NOT allow UC'c Consortium to reveal the current results of the survey. The new CPS teacher evaluation process is one that has been implemented by 'children.' It could have been so much better if they only knew what they were doing. Read the framework book Alexander--you will be amazed. Look at the price tag-waste of time/money.
    BTW-where is retired principal? Hope not busy helping to close a school--many have been hired back to do this.

  • Kristine Mayle

  • The new teacher eval process, imo, is better than the old one. But we have at least 25 non tenured teachers at my school. That's 100 pre-conferences @ about 20 min a piece, 100-45 minute observations and another 100 post conferences at about 20-30 min. each. That doesn't include all the outside work principals must do to upload and type in stuff. That doesn't include the conferences and observations for tenured teachers. My principals are running around like chickens. Its over the top and not sustainable long term. They need help to get all these evaluations done.

  • new evaluation system – complete joke

  • Gee, could've called this one. Implementing a half-baked eval system which in theory sounds good. In practice? No. It will be something new in two years.

  • any more folks who're doing / going through the new eval process want to tell us how it's working?

  • The new evaluation system is a lot like the National Board Certification process in the way it's rubric-driven and requires very extensive documentation. I find it somewhat daunting inasmuch as there are significant differences in how this is administered. For one thing, no one goes through the National Board process alone, but everyone goes through this alone. Utterly alone.

    There is, of course, the difference that NBC is about affirming one's desire to be a more effective teacher, and while I try really hard to see this process the same way, it's impossible to separate out the punitive and perhaps even humiliating quality because it's about not getting fired. Assuming that there will be teaching jobs from which not to get fired 2-3 years from now.

    There is a lot to figure out in terms of little details such as how to upload documentation, and qualitative things like how to interpret the rubric. There hasn't been any high quality professional development around this rubric. My principal was required to read the whole rubric to us over the summer and we have occasional short meetings after school when we read the rubric in groups.

    When you do National Boards you are told to drop your extra-curricular commitments for the year because of the time required to prepare the NBC portfolio--which is, granted, much more extensive than this one. But that's not a plus. In the course of creating all that NBC documentation, you go through a very helpful process. So by reducing the documentation, the value of the process has been correspondingly diminished. To do this well--to use it as a real and meaningful professional improvement process--would require a lot more time and support than we get.

    I think the rubrics are actually good and worth my while to study. It's just that there's quite a lot to read, to digest, and to implement--not to mention to document--and there is no time and no support to do that.

    It would be interesting if CPS had simply applied the NBC standards to the whole district. Might have made more sense and allowed for local talent (teachers who had gone through NBC successfully) to effectively take mentorship roles, for example. Use resources better, be more meaningful, etc. It would have been somewhat less tied to the whole process of eliminating positions and firing teachers. But that didn't happen.

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