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‘Targeted Feedback’ Might Be the Solution to Effectively Evaluating Teachers

‘Targeted Feedback’ Might be the Solution to Effectively Evaluating Teachers

Part of the reason teachers express satisfaction with the profession is because many do not agree with the myriad ways schools in various states choose to implement teacher evaluations.

According to EdSource, teachers too often complain about having their evaluations based on a once-a-year observation, leaving them distrusting of their administration’s capabilities to get to know his or her classroom practices.

"That’s where 'targeted feedback' comes in,” EdSource says. "Developed by the Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) at the University of Washington, it’s a powerful approach to teacher feedback that aims to enhance formal observations with ongoing, meaningful feedback that has the potential to improve teacher performance and student learning.” So what is targeted feedback and how will it encourage meaningful teacher evaluations?

When beginning a feedback cycle, the teacher and principal have an open dialogue and examine student data and classroom patterns before the classroom observation. Working together, the teacher identifies a specific learning goal or area of focus, which is aligned with the district’s and school’s area of focus. This conversation allows the teacher to define a targeted area of growth and also assists the principal in delivering meaningful feedback.

This would allow for observation from the principal to be targeted in the sense that it would be directed at specific teacher goals, and feedback would correspond.

"This series of short classroom observations over a three- to six-week period would zero in on the teacher’s goals, with attention both to student response and teacher improvement. The principal would provide brief feedback based on each observation, such as pointing out an overlooked student comment or missed learning opportunity, and then follow up with plans for the teacher’s next goal or area of focus,” EdSource said.

So far, California schools are leading the way in adopting targeted feedback practices.

Schools in the state that have thus far implemented the practice have reported positive results, and many more California schools will be experimenting with the practice soon.

"Starting in January, the Targeted Feedback Institute will offer an opportunity for California administrators, teachers, instructional coaches and central office staff to participate as a team. Participants will learn how to build close, open working relationships and healthy work environments. They will practice classroom lesson observation where observers can learn to identify personal biases and how to gather evidence that is objective, descriptive and specific.”

This practice, according to EdSource, could provide schools with an important and reinforced relationship/partnership between teacher and administration to give meaning back to the teacher evaluation and observation process.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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