Lessons learned from the implementation of a formative teacher evaluation system

Heba A. Abdo
Scholarship in the field of teacher evaluation has increased recently following seminal studies on its importance (Kane & Staiger, 2011; Weisberg et al., 2009) that led to federal policy changes that incentivize its use (U.S. Department of Education, 2009). Scholarship began with agreement across the field about the importance of valid tools and reliable methods, but gave way to widespread disagreement about the best uses of teacher evaluation. Many vocal researchers support summative uses (for
more » ... example: Gordon, Kane, & Staiger, 2006; Hanushek & Rivkin, 2006), while others call for formative approaches, linked to professional learning opportunities (for example: Papay, 2012; Sinnema & Robinson, 2007). Engaging in formative evaluation may lead to teacher efficacy (Danielson, 2012), teacher self-reports of professional learning (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2013), positive teaching practices (Reinhorn, 2013; Sartain et al., 2011), and student achievement (Dee & Wyckoff, 2015; Taylor & Tyler, 2012). Yet, studying formative evaluation systems is an emergent field, with many gaps. The literature has not adequately made recommendations about school-level programs that support formative evaluation or provided descriptive examples of systems that perform well. In addition, while many have proposed the importance of understanding how teachers actually use feedback, few detail this process. This instrumental case study provides a description of the teacher evaluation system at one charter school in Washington D.C. It explores how the formative evaluation system was constructed and what the outcomes are for teacher learning and the school's climate. Findings reveal that the purposeful inclusion of formative processes has led to deep and sustained teacher learning in some cases, but has been less impactful in others. Further, formative evaluation practices support positive school climate, such that when the evaluation system was implemented well, teachers reported fee [...]
doi:10.7282/t3d79f58 fatcat:v5vvq44vkvdm3p3wexz5ncwswi