Evaluation can be defined as the process of judging the worth or quality of something by comparing available data to a pre-determined standard unit. It is the systematic collection and analysis of data for the purpose of assessing the strengths and weaknesses of an educational program or organization to improve its overall effectiveness. Evaluation essentially enlists the use of judgment to determine the value of an item with respect to a certain model. There are many definitions for evaluation, but when it comes to the field of education, this is more or less the most perfect description to go by. Now, when it comes to administrators, there are 4 types of evaluation associated with the job that is done on teachers. Given below are the detailed explanations for the 4 types of evaluation models that are done on teachers to assess their teaching abilities.
The Value-Added Model
The value-added model is essentially assessing the performance of a teacher based on the value that they impart to the students through their teaching and overall mentorship. The process of using the value-added model (VAM) looks something like this:
- First, the admins take note of the test scores of students from previous years and the available information regarding their background. This can help them predict what their test scores will be the following year.
- Using this data, admins can then collect information regarding whether students exceeded those expectations or not.
- The value-added score of the teacher is then calculated based on the average of the differences between the actual and predicted scores of the students.
This method looks great in theory and can technically be used to compare the effectiveness of different teachers by showing their results. However, this raises a very important question - how effective is this method?
It isn’t as easy as it seems. The calculation of the score is, in and of itself, easy and is easy to do. However, it does not take into account a lot of details. First and foremost, after analyzing the method, it is clear that the performance of the teacher stays dependent on the performance of the students. It is not an objective analysis of the teacher’s independent work as a teacher. Also, with this method, even though there will be a clear best and worst performance, the teachers that perform on an average level will not have an accurate ranking since, as mentioned above, a lot of other factors are not being taken into account.
Another important factor is that when it comes to high-ranking students, something known as the ceiling effect comes into effect. The ceiling effect can be described as the inability of an operation to bring about an improvement in a process however good the performance is. What this means here is that however well top-performing students are, their performance will not go higher beyond a point, which can, in turn, affect the result of the subsequent evaluation.
However, this does not mean that the value-added model is useless. It can still give an idea about the best and worst-performing teachers, which can be quite beneficial to the admins who are in charge of issuing raises and firing ineffective teachers. It can also help admins compare teachers among themselves on a very objective basis. It is just that certain checks and balances need to be kept in place so that the result of the evaluation. Since this is very easy to carry out, VAM is one of the first types of evaluation that is considered before more detailed analyses.
This is one of the few types of evaluation that have been tried and tested and has proven over and over again that it is effective as a teacher evaluation tool. The process is essentially as simple as it sounds - the admin tracks the overall performance of the teacher across several years depending on their teaching method, how often they give assignments and homework, how receptive they are to feedback, and so on. As is immediately evident, this is very objective and individualistic, which means that the result of this method is also highly accurate.
However, what it gains in accuracy, it loses in time. The teacher observation method, however accurate it may be, is extremely time-consuming and labor-intensive. This means that if they adopt this method, the admins will have to take time out of their busy schedules and conduct individual analyses of each teacher.
Another important factor is the bias that can come as a result of the admin’s individual perception of the teacher. No one is without bias, and it is quite obvious that school administrators will have them too. So, this method is as effective as the observer is.
However, this method has a lot of advantages as well. The most important point is that the teacher is that the school administrators can get inside information when it comes to the nature of the class being taken, including their body language, their interaction with the students, the general atmosphere of the classroom, and whether or not the students are being treated with dignity by the teacher. This improves the reliability of the students.
The admins can even take it one step further and record the sessions so that they can compare the teaching styles of other teachers and get a better understanding of each teacher’s strengths and weaknesses.
The Framework Model
The Framework For Teaching Model, popularly called the FFT model, is a model that was created specifically to assess teachers by Charlotte Danielson in 1996. According to this mode, teachers are to be assessed on the basis of 4 domains:
- Classroom Environment
- Planning and Preparation
- Professional Responsibilities
There are 22 components in total within these domains, which cover 76 smaller elements of teaching. The goal of the FFT model is to make observations more meaningful, giving both teachers and school administrators the ability to improve their skills. When put into practice, the Framework Model produces consistently positive results as well. The FFT Model essentially improved the teacher evaluation process which in turn cascaded into better grades for students.
The main problem with this model is that the admins and teachers need to know what the framework is to make sure that the latter is following it dutifully. However, this is a minor problem and can be overcome by simply reading up on it.
The Marzano Focused Teacher Evaluation Model
The Marzano Focused Teacher Evaluation Model was developed by Dr. Robert Marzano and Dr. Beverly Carbaugh. It was a research-based model that narrowed down the art of teaching to 23 essential competencies. These were divided into 4 sub-categories:
- Standards-Based Planning
- Standards-Based Instruction
- Conditions for Learning
- Professional Responsibilities
As is evident from the classification, it is similar to the FFT Model, but one that is heavily research-based. The main difference is that the Marzano Model focuses not just on the actual instruction given by teachers, but also on the overall atmosphere of the classroom and the behind-the-scenes work involved.
Now comes the biggest question of all - which one of these types of evaluation must the administrator follow? They all have their strengths and weakness in their own right, so it is only fitting that a combination of the 4 is used. This is useful as each one of those types of evaluation can be added up with the right combination of techniques. This way, the process of teacher evaluation can be made simpler, faster, seamless, and more efficient.