NOTES ON THE PRINCIPLES

1. State statutes

A basic requirement and component of a district educator evaluation system.

2. Utility to all parties

The assessment system needs broad agreement and acceptance.1 All of the us-ers should be knowledgeable and supportive. The system should not be over-balanced toward one group. The system should not be known as "the Board program" or the "administrators' system," but should equally be owned by participating groups.

3. Information purposes

An educator personnel system has the purpose of providing direct information for a number of important uses.2 A system should specifically plan ways to carry out each of these purposes.

4. Effects of the assessment system in the District

The information provided by an educator evaluation system is intended to have certain effects on the larger educational program of which it is a part. These areas of impact are listed in somewhat of a priority order.

The most conventional impact purpose, "foster improvement," usually appears at the beginning of most district guiding principle statements.3 While we value and expect educator improvement as a necessary professional attribute, we: (a) recognize the importance of the other purposes, (b) want to drive the assessment system with information about the great deal of good practice al-ready in existence, (c) wish to avoid the appearance of suggesting that the vast majority of our educators are in acute need of drastic changes in their prac-tice, and (d) recognize the sparseness of empirical research literature that shows that educator evaluation systems actually foster improvement in real school settings.

5. Formative, summative, and monitoring purposes

Good and efficient evaluation (a) improves, shapes and forms practice ("for-mative evaluation"),4 (b) makes summary judgments about merit and value for decision-making ("summative evaluation")4, and (c) watches for changes or problems that require quick term judgment and action ("monitoring evalua-tion"). Merit is the quality or goodness of the performance itself; value is the worth or importance to the District.5 Decision-making includes status judg-ments of tenure, retention, remediation, and award of leadership positions.

Good evaluation requires a good deal of separation of formative, summative, and monitoring functions in time, procedures, ground rules, and persons in-volved.6

6. Data sources

Evaluation is a process of professional judgment that relies on informed and expert subjectivity.5,7 This judgment requires the best, state-of-the-art objec-tive evidence available in each instance, unremitting diligence to control bias inherent in human judgment, and involvement of the interested stakeholders and audiences.2

The best objective data about educators are valid ("assess what we should as-sess") and reliable ("assess dependably and accurately"). For example, system-atic surveys of students over several years are better evidence than a collec-tion of individual testimonies, complaints, or hearsay reputation.8 Systematic peer reviews of teaching materials are better than reports of individual edu-cators from the same school, or surveys of reputation by fellow teachers.9 A documented report of professional activity submitted by an individual educator is better than the recollection of any individual educator from the same school.2

In order to get the best information for judgment, several data sources are needed on each educator.2 No single data source works for all educators, nor fully addresses the full range of role expectations. Multiple data sources serve to corroborate each other.

Because of differences in settings, educator styles, and availability of data, some variation in data sources is appropriate.2 The age and experience of stu-dents, nature of the subject matter they learn, and the facilities of the school all influence the kind of information that is most appropriate for educator evaluation. Research on effective teaching does not disclose a certain style, approach, set of behaviors, or sequence of structuring that produces greater student learning; thus, a variety of successful teacher styles needs to be docu-mented. Finally, not every desireable kind of information is available in every setting; however, every situation affords some adequate combination of information for judgment purposes.

7. Equality of opportunity for learning

The educator assessment system should support the education of all students in the District. Assessment should not favor certain kinds of instruction, certain groups of students, narrowly defined student outcomes, or only easily meas-ured subject matter content.

8. Educator centrality in their own evaluation

Professional evaluation is a responsibility and opportunity for both the Dis-trict and the individual educator. The District is responsible for insuring that good educational practice is provided. The District has the opportunity to re-ward desireable practice and to influence efforts by what it chooses to assess.

Individual educators have a responsibility to provide assessment of their work because their clients are immature, are not free to choose other settings, and most often educators work alone.10 The opportunities for teachers are to create reassurance for themselves, develop security derived from documentation of good work, emphasize individual styles, develop individual goals, and to dem-onstrate their personal strengths.

9. Role expectations

Much of educator assessment can be understood in terms of professional ex-pectations for educators.11 In terms of fairness, educators ought to know on what grounds or expectations they are to be assessed, and evaluation should be focused on the defined duties of the employment. Role expectations should be determined using both national12 and local standards.

(There are limits to assessment based entirely on role or duty expectations. At times educational expectations are open-ended, because once goals are achieved the educator is expected to go above and beyond. It is the nature of educational performance to include certain idiosyncratic contributions that defy generalization in duty statements. While there is agreement on much of what an educator is expected to do, there is not complete agreement on any one specific statement of educator duties. Professional performances should not be limited by the capacity of planners to prespecify roles or duties.)

10. Personnel evaluation standards

Good educator assessment should meet the professional expectations for quality evaluation.13 This includes standards for

11. Fairness

Justice, equity, and respect are key attributes of good educator assessment.14 An evaluation system is a complex interaction of rights which must be explic-itly understood and honored.

Educators have certain professional rights (security, discretion, participa-tion), procedural rights, rights to be assessed using relevent evidence, and other humanitarian and civil rights (humane treatment, confidentiality, non-discrimination).

The District as an educational institution has rights to supervise, make per-sonnel decisions in the pursuit of educational quality, act on relevent infor-mation in the best interest of students, and to have the cooperation of educa-tors in assessment activities.

12. Evaluation of all contributors to student learning

Student learning, the central focus of educational activity, is not solely deter-mined by any one group of educators.15 Rather, student learning is affected by family life, community support, the promise of future payoffs for education, District facilities, materials, curriculum, instruction, and the educators em-ployed in the District. It is nether accurate nor fair to judge only certain com-ponents of the educational system--such as the teachers or administrators, and to ignore other contributors to student learning. A good educator assessment system should have some estimate of the quality of as many contributors to learning as feasible.

13. Information for remediation or dismissal

Specific data should be applied to cases of bad or unacceptable practice.2,16 Once concrete problems are identified, often by building administrators, spe-cific data should be mandated for collection. This strategy is a change from the educator control of Principle #6.

14. Meta-evaluation

A good educator assessment system should itself be periodically subject to data gathering, analysis, decision-making, and upgrading. Validation requires that the claims and outcomes of an evaluation system routinely be examined.2

References for Notes on Principles

1Stufflebeam, D.L. (1996). Evaluating school district students, programs, and personnel: A unified approach. Paper presented at 5th National Evaluation Institute, Bethesda, MD, July. Kalamazoo, MI: The Evaluation Center, Western Michigan University.
2Peterson, K.D. (1995). Teacher evaluation: A comprehensive guide to new directions and practices. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
3Ellett, C.D. & Garland, J.S. (1987). Teacher evaluation practices in our largest school districts: Are they measuring up to 'state-of-the-art' systems? Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 1, 69-92.
4Scriven, M. (1967). The methodology of evaluation. In R. Tyler, R. Gagne & M. Scriven (Eds.), AERA monograph review on curriculum evaluation: No. 1 (pp. 39-83). Chi-cago, IL: Rand McNally.
5Scriven, M. (1987). Validity in personnel evaluation. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 1, 9-24.
6Popham, W.J. (1988). The dysfunctional marriage of formative and summative teacher evaluation. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 1, 269-273.
7Popham, W.J. (1987). The shortcomings of champagne teacher evaluations. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 1, 25-28.
8Peterson, K.D. & Stevens, D. (1988). Student reports for schoolteacher evalua-tion. Jour-nal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 1, 259-267.
9McCarthey, S.J. & Peterson, K.D. (1987). Peer review of materials in public school teacher evaluation. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 1, 285-293.
10Scriven, M. (1981). Summative teacher evaluation. In J. Millman (Ed.), Handbook of teacher evaluation (pp. 244-271). Beverly Hills: Sage.
11Scriven, M. (1988). Duty-based teacher evaluation. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 1, 319-334.
12National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (1996). What teachers should know and be able to do. Detroit, MI: NBPTS.
13Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation (1988). D.L. Stufflebeam (Chair),The personnel evaluation standards. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
14 Strike, K. & Bull, B. (1981). Fairness and the legal context of teacher evalua-tion. In J. Millman (Ed.), Handbook of teacher evaluation (pp. 301-343). Beverly Hills: Sage.
15Berk, R.A. (1988). Fifty reasons why student gain does not mean teacher ef-fectiveness. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 1, 345-363.
16Bridges, E.M. (1992). The incompetent teacher (2nd ed). Philadelphia: Falmer Press.