In the Washington Post, Jay Mathews considers whether any progress has been made in fixing the teacher evaluation systems that generally result in all teachers being rated satisfactory.
Two new studies reveal principals still trying to make nearly all teachers happy. Interviews by researchers and by Education Week reporter Liana Loewus reveal a troubling reason principals are not telling subpar teachers they need to get better: It takes too much time.
One middle school principal in a Northeastern urban district told Matthew Kraft of Brown University and Allison Gilmour of Temple University that the demands of extra observations and support were too great. “I just feel like sometimes you have to have a lot of extra detail before you can give somebody a Needs Improvement,” the principal said. “When you have an unsatisfactory teacher, it takes a lot of time to observe that teacher, to give true honest-to-goodness feedback.”
It’s even worse if several teachers need help. “It’s not possible for an administrator to carry through on 10 Unsatisfactories simultaneously,” another principal said. “I mean, once somebody is identified as Unsatisfactory, the amount of work, the amount of observation, the amount of time and attention that it requires to support them can become overwhelming.”
One of the studies cited by Mathews, by Jason Grissom of Vanderbilt University and Susanna Loeb of Stanford University, compares the formal district evaluations principals submitted with how those principals assessed the same teachers in confidential surveys. Jason Grissom explains that research in “Do Principals Really Think All Teachers are Effective?”
— Education Next