How Can Teacher Performance Be Improved With School-Based Assessments?
Research continues to point to the importance of finding the right teachers for their child(ren) and using their students’ assessment scores in conjunction with certain classroom behaviors as a way to form an assessment of a classroom-based teacher. One of the current hot issues is what exactly does the term “school-based assessment” mean? What do we mean when we talk about assessing a classroom-based teacher? What outcomes are we measuring? When should we take this step and when should we wait?
Benchmark scores for schools and teachers are both an effective way of identifying what the problem is, and what needs to be done to correct that problem. However, the discussion around assessments and teacher performance usually focuses on teacher quality, leading to a blur of definitions that makes understanding the scoring mechanism difficult.
As an added layer of complexity, it can become more difficult to determine what “school-based” assessment is using aspects of statistical measure and not actually school performance. Ask any teacher how many subject areas he or she is taught and it is likely that the answer will be “enough.” Then, ask them to learn the research-based best practice for each subject they teach and they will likely know exactly how to do that, demonstrating the importance of transparency with measurements.
In this piece, I highlight the aspects of the school-based assessment that impact teacher quality and the learning outcomes a teacher needs to implement with their students.
Core Statistic: Level of Learning:
The state of California determines the teacher’s level of education, then uses the data they collect from student assessments to identify skills and instructional knowledge the teacher needs to master for their students to achieve their learning expectations.
This educational method makes it easy to identify the amount of knowledge and skills a teacher needs to teach that will achieve student outcomes. The next key feature of this assessment is that it can be developed collaboratively between teacher and school leaders. Because the level of knowledge a teacher has and how it is used is included in the system, effective teachers that could not demonstrate their knowledge and skills on their own can benefit from the teaching data and can practice to grow, rather than focusing solely on lessons or assessments.
When school leaders recognize that the “student-centered model” we are taught is not universally relevant to all classrooms, they can effectively use data-driven mechanisms and assessments to identify what students with special needs are learning and how they should be taught to reach their learning expectations. This analysis helps teachers work to identify those students that can be successfully taught to reach their learning goals.
Though there are many possible outcomes of school-based assessments, I will point to one key outcome of “student-centered” teaching that is impactful regardless of which school you are in.
Kids and parents who can communicate well – even when they may not be getting what they want – are more likely to learn. When a teacher and student can clearly understand their goals, educators can know how to connect with these learners.
Based on research and experiences, the main features of a successful classroom environment are low expectations, poor communication, specific focus, and long-term passion. The goal in addressing these elements is to create an environment that supports learning and develops the character and skills of students.
Understanding these principles, I have seen the benefits of using school-based assessments, while recognizing that the assessment’s design provides valuable feedback for teachers to know where they need to develop or improve.