Evaluating Teacher-Leaders—click to download a PDF of this page.
In an Opportunity Culture, most teacher-leaders lead a team of teachers while continuing to teach and are called multi-classroom leaders (MCLs). A lesser-used role allows teacher-leaders to teach part-time while designing curricula or assessments, or while playing other district-wide roles. The more prevalent MCLs are excellent teachers who assign roles to the team, which uses the MCL’s methods and materials; co-plan instruction to help the others excel and develop; provide the collaboration, on-the-job learning, and feedback that teachers consistently report they want and need; and take accountability for the learning of all students on their team.
To select, evaluate, and develop their teachers, MCLs, and other teacher-leaders, Opportunity Culture schools should use behavioral competencies—the habits of behavior that help predict how employees will do their jobs.* This is sometimes called “emotional intelligence” and includes things like planning ahead, teamwork behaviors, and persistence or “grit.”
Today, there is little research on how to measure the effectiveness of teachers who take on leadership of peers or leadership in designing curriculum and student assessment. Until there is more experience and evidence about how to measure effective teacher leadership in a variety of roles, educators and policymakers interested in evaluating teacher-leaders can look to the cross-sector practices on general performance management that enhance job performance in a variety of roles. Research and practical human resource manuals suggest that effective performance evaluation answers three questions:
- Job responsibilities. Has the individual fulfilled the job responsibilities indicated in his or her job description?
- Behavioral competencies. Has the individual demonstrated that he or she uses the appropriate behavioral competencies at the level needed to be effective in this position?
- Outcome goals. Has the individual contributed to the goals that are aligned with his or her current position (for example, student learning goals, conditions within the school such as behavior and attendance, or contributions to the work of other teachers)?
These three broad categories are flexible enough that they can be adapted to fit a variety of teacher-leader roles and be incorporated into current evaluation processes in use for all teachers. However, developing an effective evaluation system based on these categories requires educators and policymakers to develop job descriptions that include a summary of each particular role as well as clearly articulated responsibilities and qualifications. Policymakers also need to determine the necessary behavioral competencies for each role. And school and district leaders need to ensure that goals and measures reflect the scope of the teacher-leaders’ job—for example, including the student outcomes of teachers whom each teacher-leader leads and develops.
Schools and districts will need to determine:
- Measures for each goal
- Who will provide input (peers, supervisors, students, parents, the teacher-leader)
- Instruments and methods to collect data from each source (see table below)
- When input will be gathered and by whom
- How input will be summarized—by whom and using what format
- How, when, and by whom feedback will be provided
- The impact that different aspects of performance evaluation will have on development planning, career advancement, and pay
The following checklist offers an overview of the three areas that schools and districts should address in evaluating teacher-leaders, as well as methods for measuring performance in each area. Districts and schools can use this as a guide to consider which methods they would like to use to measure teacher leader performance in each area.
Areas of Evaluation and Methods Checklist
- Evaluation, Accountability, and Professional Development in an Opportunity Culture: A Practical Guide
*Schools can learn more about behavioral competencies in Competence at Work (Spencer and Spencer, 1993) or Public Impact’s selection materials for school turnaround teachers and leaders, available at http://www.publicimpact.com/teacher-leaders/competencies-of-high-performers.