In the January/February Principal's Speaking Out column, Mary Ann Chapko raises concerns over teacher evaluation and what it means for schools. In "Fear and Loathing of the Evaluation Bandwagon," Chapko poses important questions about the evaluation process, including:

  • What is an effective and fair means of evaluation for teachers?
  • When and how will this merit and performance-based assessment be accomplished?
  • Where will a principal find the time, in an already overflowing day, to tack on another huge commitment?

Chapko emphasizes the importance of individual student growth and achievement, while noting the difficulty of fairly measuring it for the purposes of teacher evaluation. She makes the point that with data from only a single year, "[t]oo many uncontrollable variables are associated with each student to guarantee a fair, unbiased evaluation of the teacher."

According to Chapko, measuring individual academic growth each year and using it for evaluation has its problems. It requires intense  and specific focus on each student's academic achievement. She argues that "[s]tudents, especially high performers, may not demonstrate sufficient annual academic growth without this microscopic focus on their individual strengths and deficits."

Chapko ultimately argues that in spite of anxiety over evaluation, principals' goals and values must remain the same. Giving children the best education they can is paramount, and is best accomplished with good relationship between administrators and teachers. What do you think about teacher evaluation? Are educators' anxieties justified?

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