Teacher evaluations: Empty ceremony or vital activity
Abstract One of the most critical duties of a school principal is to evaluate and lead teachers. A school district in Texas has mandated that all administrators conduct one hundred and forty-four walkthroughs per school year. Given that time is a priceless commodity in a typical school day, how effective is the above mandate to teacher and principal performance? The purpose of this research study was to examine how principals provide effective feedback to teachers on walkthroughs and evaluations. In addition this study looked at what teachers do with the feedback that is given to them on a walkthrough and evaluation.
Through a series of qualitative interview questions, teachers reflected on the purpose of walkthroughs and the feedback that was provided to them by principals. Principals reflected on their practice of walkthroughs and evaluations to determine if the feedback that was provided to teachers effective and useful. Teachers and principals were asked to define the type of feedback that they give and receive according to the feedback model as defined by Hattie and Timperley (2007). In addition, teachers and principals were asked to identify the type of learner they perceive themselves to be according to Kolb's learning style model. Answers from the interview questions were grouped into three categories: consensus theme, supported theme, and individual theme. Consensus themes are when the majority of the participants stated the same answer or theme, supported themes are when the approximately half of the participants stated the same answers and individual themes are when one or two participants stated the same theme or answers. Each question from the interviews were analyzed and a descriptive summary was provided.
Findings from this research indicated that walkthrough visits must be focused in order for feedback to be effective. Teachers do use the feedback to help them improve instruction, but it is important for principals to conduct follow up visits to ensure that the feedback they have delivered to teachers is being utilized. Principals must allow teachers to be self-reflective learners in order to understand the feedback that is given to them by administration. Walkthroughs and evaluations should be seen as a means to improve the learning on the campus as opposed to a completion of a mandate.
Finally recommendations and self- reflections were made regarding the practice of walkthroughs, evaluations and the importance of feedback.
0449: Educational leadership
0514: School administration