Thursday, February 24, 2011

Evaluation - Performance - Assessment

Leadership is often about taking a stand.

Current rhetoric across the nation is about "reform" and "accountability" and about "labor rights". It is revolutionary ... what is happening around the world in the Middle East, in North Africa, and even in Wisconsin and Indiana. Today during a Twitter conversation I indicated that excellence is not equal to experience. A noted educational leader seemed to indicate that my opinion was that of others in education being one in favor of limiting rights or that test scores, student test scores should measure teacher effectiveness- actually that could not be further from the truth. Since the earliest days in my career, and now, I completely support worker's rights and as you read this post, you will discover why I do not support the notion that student tests are appropriate measures of teacher excellence!

I do not support any assertion or over value on experience though - alone, experience is equal to "being there" or showing up. I believe that talent, talent in new, older, and experienced and inexperienced staff makes the difference. I am knowledgeable about how to predict talent and identify talent through scientifically validated structured selection instruments. I know how to develop talents in people through using the selection instruments as part of development, or coaching.

The "stand" I take is that we all should be accountable for our performance. We all should be committed to talent and excellence. We should hold professionals accountable for excellence and competence. I do not believe that student performance on tests - standardized (culturally biased in many cases) tests should "judge" a teacher's performance or efficacy. I believe that proper evaluation and accountability through formative assessment measures should "judge" teacher performance.

Perhaps we in education can develop "boards" or proficiency exams - tests for adults - to help determine our competence and to hold us accountable. Perhaps we in education can "force our way to the table" of policymakers and legislators and those who fund initiatives to develop real / authentic tools to evaluate and hold us accountable.

Student performance tests are measures that show student performance.

Well designed and implemented teacher appraisal systems measure teacher performance.

I stand for scientifically validated assessment for selection and development of staff.

I stand for accountability measures that measure standards-based indices.

Is anyone listening??


  1. I'm listening and thanks for sharing.

    I do agree that there needs to be frequent "formative assessment measures" to assess teacher performance. In my eyes this would include such things as: student formative and summative assessments (including high stakes tests), leadership roles in the school, community involvement, participating in extra curricular activities, life-learning opportunities outside of school, and so forth.

    Although all of the above-mentioned are important facets, performance on high stakes tests is really where the rubber meets the road. Our charge is to move students from one proficiency level to the next, year after year. It keeps me, in my capacity of middle school principal, continually challenging myself, my students, and my staff. Below is a link to an article outlining a growth index formula a colleague and I created to help evaluate the effectiveness of principals, teachers, grade-levels, programs, and departments. Enjoy!

  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to post a comment! I'll check out the link you shared and continue the journey toward developing excellence in school leaders!