Teacher Self-Evaluation

It is universally acknowledged that improvement in educational systems is crucially dependent on effective teacher self-evaluation.  Indeed, teachers instinctively wish to reflect on their work, evaluate it and look for ways to improve it.  However, effective self-evaluation is not simply a process for the individual, but involves colleagues in a variety of ways.  A fundamental principle is that teachers should also see themselves as learners.  An effective Continuing Professional Development programme will demonstrate these features.

Points Arising from Research

  • This paper draws heavily on an English survey of research on collaborative CPD - See references below
  • Research has found that collaborative CPD produces improvements in learning and teaching
  • It was found that collaborative CPD sustained over a period of time produced specific benefits in teachers’ attitudes and beliefs, teaching strategies, pupils’ attitudes and behaviour and pupils’ achievement

Key Elements of Learning Difficulties

Purposes of a self-evaluation system

  • To encourage continuing teacher self-evaluation and reflection and to promote an on-going, innovative approach to teaching
  • To encourage individual professional growth in areas of interest to the teacher 
  • To improve teacher morale and motivation by treating the teacher as a professional in charge of his or her own professional growth 
  • To encourage teacher collegiality and discussion about practices among peers in a school 
  • To support teachers as they experiment with instructional approaches that will move all students to higher levels of performance

Features of effective CPD

  • Observation with professional dialogue including feedback 
  • Use of external expertise linked to school-based activity 
  • Emphasis on scope for teacher participants to identify their own CPD focus 
  • Processes to encourage, extend, and structure professional dialogue 
  • Processes for sustaining  CPD over time to enable teachers to embed the practices in their own classroom settings
  • Enables the teacher to develop the knowledge and understanding, skills and attributes and professional values necessary to maintain and enhance his/her skills
  • Stimulates innovatory thinking and practice
  • Has flexibility of access
  • Delivered in a range of modes to suit different learning styles
  • Delivered/considered in a range of formats, from fully accredited programmes to "bite size chunks"
  • Delivered by staff with appropriate specialist knowledge
  • Delivered by staff who can identify the links between this learning experience and the general work of the teacher
  • Contextualised to meet the needs of the individuals, the school and local and national priorities
  • Provides appropriate support for teachers

Effective CPD produces significant improvements

As teachers implement new strategies, there are positive effects on learning and teaching in specific ways:

  • improved pupil motivation, self-confidence, and satisfaction with work
  • improved pupil attainment and more positive pupil attitudes in specific subjects
  • better organisation of work and increased sophistication in responses to questions
  • the development of a more collaborative, questioning approach to learning

Researchers found that teachers benefited themselves:

  • increased confidence in their own learning, in trying out new ideas, in changing their practice and in their power to make a difference to their pupils’ learning
  • enthusiasm for collaborative working, despite initial anxieties about being observed and receiving feedback 
  • improved team-work and greater flexibility in their use of teaching strategies 
  • increased awareness of new teaching techniques and greater insight into pupils’ thinking 
  • enhanced planning skills to ensure more effective content and pupil task match

Criteria for self-evaluation

  • Standard for Full Registration
  • The Quality  Indicators in How Good is Our School provide opportunities for teachers to reflect on practice, both collaboratively and individually
  • The Standard for Chartered Teacher offers a schema for professional analysis under the headings “Professional knowledge and understanding”, Professional and personal attributes” and Professional action”.
  • Standard for Leadership (Headship)

Tools for self-evaluation

It is important that the teacher has “ownership” of the CPD process.

  • The Highland Professional Review and Development procedures have a key role here. 
  • Peer support:  coaching; joint preparation of materials; planning; team building
  • Peer support can operate in a limited way for small-scale projects, within departments or within the whole school or across schools
  • Observation: can involve colleagues or outside experts; can be informal or built in to formal CPD procedures
  • Audit checklists can be used to cover things such as class organisation, use of particular materials, pupil participation, use of pupils’ prior learning
  • Feedback from such observation is very valuable, but must be handled sensitively
  • Action research - a limited, focused project can enhance the process of reflection
  • The Highland Learning and Teaching Toolkit and the Highland CPD Framework offer suggestions which teachers may use to focus the process of reflection.  The philosophy of the Toolkit and the Framework is based on the Highland Learning and Teaching Policy which can be used as a basis for reflection.

Reflection and Discussion

To what extent do you feel that you currently engage in reflective activities?

How has reflection influenced your practice?

What access do you have to expert advice?

Are there specific areas in which you would appreciate opportunities to collaborate with colleagues?

Some Activities Relating To the Issue of Teacher Self Evaluation

Key element Objective Action

Some examples and suggestions

Purposes of a self-evaluation system To encourage individual professional growth in areas of interest to the teacher What is the best way to identify areas of interest?  This can be discussed with colleagues, promoted staff or people outwith the school.  The Contents page of this Toolkit may spark off ideas.
 Objectives to evaluate Staff development needs arising from the school development plan or from subject or curricular plans What is the link between school/department planning and your self-evaluation?  Ensure that your personal CPD interests are taken account of in the planning process.  This may involve reassessment within the school of timing of processes.
Features of effective CPD Observation with professional dialogue including feedback    This aspect of CPD is widely seen as pre-eminently important.  Make arrangements to team up with a “critical friend” for mutual class observation.  Should your school do more to build in such opportunities for the session?
Effective CPD produces significant improvements  Improved team-work Consider how curricular projects can be enhanced with such collaboration.  How can secondary subject aims be developed along with collaborative CPD?
Criteria for self-evaluation The Standard for Chartered Teacher If you are not aware of the SCT requirements, look at the web site given below to examine the criteria.
Tools for self-evaluation Observation: can involve colleagues or outside experts The English research survey mentioned below details on effective classroom use of outside experts.  Where this is difficult, what alternatives are there?

Selected References 

Teaching for Effective Learning first published by the SCCC in 1996.  This excellent overview of aspects of effective teaching has a section containing questions designed to promote teacher reflection.   This booklet also contains an extensive reading list.

What Makes a Good Primary School Teacher? by Caroline Gipps, Bet McCallum and Eleanore Hargreaves - RoutledgeFalmer  ISBN 0415232473

Am I Teaching Well  by Lisa Hayes, Vesna Nikolic and Hanna Cabaj, Learning Matters Ltd  ISBN 1903300304