Students assessment of teaching effectiveness in high school

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Introduction

There are various types of teachers evaluation that are currently being applied in the schooling system in general and in Egypt in particular. One of these types is based on student ratings of their teachers. This is the focus of the paper.

The idea behind that students should be allowed to evaluate teachers is to improve the educational standards using the main elements of the educational system in addition to other forms of assessment. The whole process of evaluation can be done through colleagues, school administration and students and would be a great opportunity for students to pass their message across administrators.

After the introduction, the paper starts with a brief review of the different but complimentary types of teachers' evaluation. Student ratings are then discussed. The list of items that should be included in this process of ratings is introduced and the suggested form is proposed.

Types of Teachers' Evaluation

Teachers' evaluation, as I read in http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-925/evaluation.htm, is defined as collecting and using information to judge the performance of teachers. There are various methods of teachers' evaluation as follows:

- Teacher interview. This type of evaluation is a one-to-one conference. It is usually used to hire new teachers.

- Classroom Observation. This is the most popular evaluation method, usually performed annually by school administrators for experienced teachers and more frequently for beginning teachers. Observation reveals information about such things as teacher interaction and rapport with pupils that is unavailable from other sources. Some argue that this technique is potentially biased, invalid, and unreliable.

- Peer observation. Teaching colleagues observe each other's classroom and examine lesson plans, tests, and graded assignments. Peer observation examines a wider scope of teaching activities than other methods. Collecting such data helps identifying weak areas of classroom management, teacher instructions and other skills. It is considered as a very important source for collecting data / information for developing staff. Some argue that this method is very time consuming and suffers from peer conflict.

- Student Achievement. Nationally standardized student achievement examinations often are used to evaluate teachers and school systems by ranking the student, class, and school according to national norms. Research shows that under certain conditions test scores are positively correlated with teacher behavior after adjusting for student qualities, such as I.Q., which are independent of teacher influence.

- Student Ratings. Using student ratings in teacher evaluation has been restricted to higher education, although student input has been collected informally in middle and secondary schools. This method is inexpensive, and has a high degree of reliability, but questions of validity and bias remain.

- Indirect Measures. Other "good teacher" descriptors have been examined to determine if they correlate with student achievement. These descriptors include enthusiasm, humor, judgment, objectivity, and punctuality. Research has found a relationship between teacher flexibility and effectiveness, and some teacher characteristics appear to be more effective in some classroom situations than in others. But these findings have not been used in teacher evaluation.

The most important characteristic for any successful evaluation method is validity. It becomes inappropriate, meaningless, and useless to make specific inferences from invalid measurements. Evidence of validity must be accumulated to support inferences made from evaluation results. Successful evaluation methods also must be reliable, effective, and efficient.

Student Ratings

This type of evaluation is done through students when are asked to complete a form or write a short free-form evaluation anonymously, either during or immediately after a class period, the final exam, or a session after grades are issued, as in http://pareonline.net/getvn.asp?v=4&n=7. The questionnaire should be short and concise. A committee could be formed to put the questionnaire together. The committee should consist of teachers, parents, students and administration. It should be designed to identify positive teachers as well as destructive teachers; strengths as well as weaknesses. The questionnaire should leave space where a student can write in comments. Students should be asked how they would like to see the class improved. A student that feels uncomfortable at expressing his/her opinion in class or in a group discussion will be grateful to have the opportunity to share his/her opinion on the questionnaire.

Student ratings of instruction are widely used as a basis for personnel decisions and faculty development recommendations in post-secondary education today but rarely in secondary education.

There are several strong arguments for using student ratings to evaluate teachers at the secondary level. Students are in a unique position to rate their own increased knowledge and comprehension as well as changed motivation toward the subject taught. As students, they are also in a good position to judge such matters as whether tests covered all the material of the course. Students are in the classroom. They observe on a daily basis the interaction between a teacher and the students. Often the exceptionally good teachers are overlooked. Correctable problems are identified and could be corrected. Student ratings could improve the learning atmosphere. If a teacher is oblivious to abusive behaviors occurring in the classroom, student evaluations would point it out. A teacher could be taught to be more aware of undercurrents in the classroom that interferes with learning and may create safety issues. Periodic student opinion would make teachers more responsible and more interactive with students hence making learning better.

I would like to add that this evaluation process would help lessen the burden on the school management. Students now being readily involved along with the management and teachers would definitely help running of the institute smoother and efficient.

In addition, students can observe and rate facts (i.e. an teacher's punctuality, the legibility of writing on the board) that are relevant to competent teaching. They can also identify and rate whether the teacher is enthusiastic. Does he or she ask many questions? Encourage questions from students, etc.?

The validity of student rating forms is dependent on the context of how and when they are administered. For student rating results to be valid, they must be obtained from properly administered tests, stringently controlled data collection, and thorough analysis of test results. Frequent errors include

The use of teachers to collect forms rating their own instructional merit.

Lack of controls over pleas for sympathy or indulgence by the teacher before forms are distributed.

Inadequate time to complete forms.

Failing to ensure an acceptable return rate. 

To ensure the validity of results, errors in data processing, report design, and interpretation must also be avoided. Common errors include:

The use of averages alone, without regard to the distribution;

Failure to set up appropriate comparison groups;

Treating small differences as significant, just because they are statistically significant;

Student ratings must be considered very carefully in the context in which they are given. The educational administrator interested in the improvement of instruction--whether by improving courses themselves, or the performance or the composition of the faculty--and teachers and students with the same interest will benefit from the use of a sound system of student ratings.

The Proposed Tool

The tool that I propose depends mainly on student ratings. I suggest that this tool be applied in the last two years of the education system especially in International Schools in Egypt.

The form should give students the opportunity to provide quantitative ratings and to comment narratively on an teacher's performance. It asks the students about effective teaching and that are within students' range of judgment. For example, current students can judge how well prepared teachers are, how effectively they make use of class time, how well they explain things and with what level of enthusiasm, and how responsive they are to difficulties the students may be having in the course. Students can also comment on whether the teacher promotes original thinking and critical evaluation of ideas.

It includes at least one item that asks students to describe or rate the knowledge, appreciation, or skills they acquired in the course. It includes quantitative measure on the overall effectiveness of the teacher. It asks one open-ended item that asks about the greatest strengths and weaknesses of the instructor's teaching.

The literature indicates a detailed and comprehensive list of items that should be included in the form in http://www.carlsbadusd.k12.ca.us/Pdfs/Employment/Resources/Job-Info/Tchr_Perf_Eval_Forms09-10.pdf. The items are grouped in standards as follows:

Standard 1: Engaging and Supporting All Students in Learning

Connecting students' prior knowledge, life experience, and interests with learning goals.

Using a variety of instructional strategies and resources to respond to students' diverse needs.

Facilitating learning experiences that promote autonomy, interaction, and choice.

Engaging students in problem solving, critical thinking and other activities that make subject matter meaningful.

Promoting self-directed, reflective learning for all students.

Standard 2: Creating and Maintaining Effective Environments for Student Learning

Creating a physical environment that engages all students.

Establishing a climate that promotes fairness and respect.

Promoting social development and group responsibility.

Establishing and maintaining standards for student behavior.

Planning and implementing classroom procedures and routines that support student learning.

Using instructional time effectively.

Standard 3: Understanding and Organizing Subject Matter for Student Learning

Demonstrating knowledge of subject matter content and student development.

Organizing curriculum to support student understanding of subject matter.

Implementing ideas and information within and across curricular areas.

Developing student understanding through instructional strategies and applying learning principles that are appropriate to the subject matter.

Using materials, resources, and technologies to make subject matter accessible to students.

Standard 4: Planning Instruction and Designing Learning Experiences for All Students

Drawing on and valuing students' backgrounds, interests, and developmental learning needs.

Establishing and articulating goals for student learning.

Developing and sequencing instructional activities and materials for student learning including, where appropriate, longer term meaningful use tasks.

Designing short-term and long-term plans to foster student learning.

Modifying instructional plans to adjust to student needs.

Using adopted curriculum: content and lifelong learning standards and assessments as appropriate.

Aligning instructional strategies and learning activities with the agreed standards and assessments.

Assigning appropriate homework as an extension of classroom work aligned with content and lifelong-learning standards.

Standard 5: Assessing Student Learning

Establishing and communicating learning goals for all students aligned with the agree standards.

Collecting and using multiple sources of information to assess student learning toward the agreed standards.

Involving and guiding all students in assessing their own learning as appropriate toward standards.

Using the results of pre-assessments, formative and summative assessments to guide instruction and describe student progress toward standards

Communicating with students, families, and other audiences about student progress toward achieving standards throughout the school year.

Standard 6: Developing as a Professional Educator

Reflecting on teaching practice and planning professional development.

Establishing professional goals and pursuing opportunities to grow professionally.

Working with communities to improve professional practice.

Working with families to improve professional practice.

Working with colleagues to improve professional practice.

Balancing professional responsibilities and maintaining motivation.

Following school policies, procedures, regulations.

The suggested form could be as follows:

Student Teacher Evaluation Form

Subject: ________________________________ Teacher: _____________________

Term: __________ Date: _____________________

Next to each item listed, circle the number that best describes your opinion of that item.

1= Strongly disagree 2= Agree 3= Neutral 4 = Agree 5 = Strongly agree

1

The teacher was appropriately respectful of those taking the subject.

1

2

3

4

5

2

The teacher's teaching methods assisted me in achieving the subject's learning goals.

1

2

3

4

5

3

The teacher appeared knowledgeable in the subject area.

1

2

3

4

5

4

The teacher encouraged useful participation through discussion and other activities.

1

2

3

4

5

5

The teacher modeled the good thinking, sound judgment, and ethical decision-making.

1

2

3

4

5

6

The teacher presented difficult material clearly.

1

2

3

4

5

7

The teacher enjoys teaching.

1

2

3

4

5

8

The teacher helps all students develop a sense of comfort in the classroom.

1

2

3

4

5

9

The teacher helps students believe that they have the ability and resources to successfully complete assigned tasks.

1

2

3

4

5

10

The teacher introduces and reinforces essential procedural knowledge (i.e., skills, processes, procedures) through ongoing modeling, shaping, and internalizing that include providing extensive practice opportunities.

1

2

3

4

5

11

Wherever appropriate, students receive instructional support to "own" essential knowledge through activities requiring thoughtful application.

1

2

3

4

5

12

The teachers' questions focus on higher-level thinking skills and processes, rather than exclusive emphasis on knowledge/recall.

1

2

3

4

5

13

Students receive support to understand and apply important thinking processes such as the comparison, classification, analysis

1

2

3

4

5

14

The objectives of the lessons were clear, specific, and communicated to students.

1

2

3

4

5

15

The teacher provided for the rates and learning styles of all students.

1

2

3

4

5

16

The teacher used students' names, interacted with students, and provided positive verbal and nonverbal feedback.

1

2

3

4

5

17

The teacher used effective questioning techniques and emphasized higher-order thinking skills rather than passive knowledge/recall of information.

1

2

3

4

5

18

The teacher organized the classroom well and carefully managed student behavior.

1

2

3

4

5

19

The teacher managed time well, allowing for maximum time devoted to successful learning experiences.

1

2

3

4

5

20

The classroom environment invited learning and helped students to develop a sense of comfort and order.

1

2

3

4

5

21

The teacher encourages students to use the library

1

2

3

4

5

22

The teacher reflected the attitude that all students can learn.

1

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5

23

The classroom was clean and orderly.

1

2

3

4

5

24

The teacher organized introductory and developmental activities to ensure student mastery of key outcomes.

1

2

3

4

5

25

The teacher established a connection between new and prior learning.

1

2

3

4

5

26

I would recommend this teacher for teaching this subject or related subjects in the future.

1

2

3

4

5

General comments and suggestions. Please write comments or any suggestions you might have for the greatest strengths and weaknesses of the instructor's teaching.

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