Today’s teacher evaluation systems have increased principals’ focus on instruction and improving teaching effectiveness and student growth. While many principals agree that this has had a positive impact on their schools, the more time-intensive evaluations are creating considerable challenges for principals.
A recent Education Week article explored how Teacher Evaluations Have Drastically Changed the Principal’s Job. The article highlights research findings about how multiple-measure teacher evaluations have significantly impacted the principal’s role. Some of the benefits of the new evaluations for principals include:
- Spending more time in the classroom.
- Providing a better understanding of their individual teachers’ strengths and challenges.
- Having more concrete and objective data, which contributes to more valuable feedback and more meaningful conversations with teachers.
Time Management Challenges
For many principals, achieving these benefits comes at a cost – primarily in the form of time. The article references research indicating that completing a single, “substantive” teacher evaluation can take 11-15 hours of a principal’s time over a school year.
It’s easy to see how the hours stack up when you consider the efforts involved in each teacher’s evaluation: reviewing goals and self-evaluations, pre-conferencing, conducting multiple observations, scripting and coding observations, aligning with the evaluation rubric, reviewing evidence, documentation and reporting, and most importantly, conducting meaningful post-evaluation feedback meetings focused on helping that teacher improve his or her practice.
Streamlining the Teacher Evaluation Process
If principals are to stay focused on what matters most in the evaluation process – providing specific, relevant coaching and feedback – they must find ways to tackle the time management hurdles. Some of the ways principals are improving the process include:
- Adding staff specifically focused on evaluations.
- Including teacher/peer-led walkthroughs as part of the evaluation process.
- Implementing online evaluation platforms for data entry and management of the evaluation process.
Saving Time with an Online Teacher Evaluation Solution
An online teacher evaluation solution like TeachPoint saves principals valuable time by managing the entire teacher and staff evaluation process and putting valuable data at their fingertips. Here’s how:
- Helps principals stay organized, keep track of deadlines, schedule observations, and take action on overdue activities.
- Enables immediate feedback and fosters collaboration through real-time form sharing and teacher reflection tools.
- Eliminates scheduling complexities with video observation that allows principals to complete observations even when they can’t be in the classroom.
- Provides quick access to data and reports to identify coaching and PD needs.
One Principal’s Success with Online Evaluation
“As a principal, I find TeachPoint valuable because it’s one place that we are all looking, whether evaluator or evaluee, to find information on how the year is going. There are tracking tools for me as the evaluator that enable me to keep track of what documents have been completed and what documents still need to be completed. And there are easy ways to notify teachers so that we stay on the same page and are able to make the most of our time together throughout the school year.”
MaryBeth Kinkead, Principal, Natick Public Schools, MA