Measuring Teacher and Leader Performance: Cross-Sector Lessons for Excellent Evaluations

Public Impact
Julie Kowal and Emily Ayscue Hassel
November 2010

There is undoubtedly no other sector in which talent and performance are more important than in education.  Teachers have a tremendous impact on student learning and improving teacher effectiveness is one of the most important levers in improving student achievement.  Thus, it is imperative that schools leaders have an adequate and efficient way to gauge teacher effectiveness.  This   recent report from Public Impact provides thoughtful insight in this area by comparing performance measurement across sectors, including non-profit organizations and private companies.  Through research of numerous organizations and companies, the report compiles six components necessary for meaningful performance evaluations.

  1. Determine the purpose of the performance measurements.  Determine if the measurements are going to be used for planning purposes, for retention or dismissal of employees, or for the purpose of learning.  This is a crucial step because the rest of the design hinges upon this.
  2. Choose objectives that align with the organization’s mission.  In education, performance measurements should align with the school’s mission and purpose.
  3. Design performance measurements.  Each employee should know their role in the performance review process and what actions they must take to achieve results. 
  4. Set performance standards.  Standards must be established in order to understand what a fully satisfied performance measurement looks like.
  5. Adopt a performance measurement process.  Leaders must determine who will have input in the evaluation process and how often evaluations will occur. 
  6. Use measurement results to take action.  Once the purpose of the performance measurements has been established and the design complete, administrators should use the results to make decisions around hiring, firing, promotion, and retention for their organization. 

In addition to the above steps, Public Impact offers other recommendations to improve performance measurements.  The report suggests that schools measure performance frequently, measure both the “what” and “how” of performance, and use the evaluations to not only improve teacher quality, but also to decide who teaches and how long they are able to teach.  Education leaders must create effective performance mechanisms and use the evaluations as the basis for teacher and principal retention, dismissal, and development in order to provide quality education to all students.  This report provides useful information toward that end.  Read it here.

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