Scholarly article on topic 'Teacher Perceptions on Teacher Evaluation: the Purpose and the Assessors within the Assessment Process'

Teacher Perceptions on Teacher Evaluation: the Purpose and the Assessors within the Assessment Process Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Otilia Clipa

Abstract Problem Statement We have approached the main line of the theoretical and investigative characteristics for teacher evaluation such as they appear within scientific literature in the science of education area. Purpose of Study The main goal of the paper is to investigate the purposes of teacher evaluation from the perspective of the teachers and the ideal portrait of the assessors for this assessment process. Research Methods The investigative part is done through the survey about some aspects of the evaluation process on teacher evaluation. The sample comprises teachers from primary and preschool level. Findings The teacher considers the assessment purpose is dependant on some factors (educational level, degree and years of experience). The positive corelation was between age, years of experience and the portrait of assessors. In terms of the gained results we have described the perceived assessor portrait from the teachers’ point of view. Conclusions The results obtained after the quantitative and qualitative analysis help to figure out more clearly the goals and the desired assessor from the teachers’ perspective. The final data helps to build a better system of evaluation for teacher in in-service teacher training and for optimizing the quality of the teaching and assessment process.

Academic research paper on topic "Teacher Perceptions on Teacher Evaluation: the Purpose and the Assessors within the Assessment Process"

Procedía

Social and Behavioral Sciences

ELSEVIER

Procedía - Social and Behavioral Sciences 29 (2011) 158- 163

International Conference oc Education ecd Educational Psychology (ICEEPSY 2611)

Teacher perceptions on teacher evaluation: the purpose and the assessors within the assessment process

Otilia CLIPAa*

a) Faculty of Science of Education, "Stefan cel Mare " University, str. Universitatii, nr. 13, SUCEAVA, 720229, ROMANIA

Abstract

Problem Statement: We have approached the main line of the theoretical and investigative characteristics for teacher evaluation such as they appear within scientific literature in the science of education area.

Purpose of Study: The main goal of the paper is to investigate the purposes of teacher evaluation from the perspective of the teachers and the ideal portrait of the assessors for this assessment process.

Research Methods: The investigative part is done through the survey about some aspects of the evaluation process on teacher evaluation. The sample comprises teachers from primary and preschool level.

Findings: The teacher considers the assessment purpose is dependant on some factors (educational level, degree and years of experience). The positive corelation was between age, years of experience and the portrait of assessors. In terms of the gained results we have described the perceived assessor portrait from the teachers' point of view.

Conclusions: The results obtained after the quantitative and qualitative analysis help to figure out more clearly the goals and the desired assessor from the teachers' perspective. The final data helps to build a better system of evaluation for teacher in inservice teacher training and for optimizing the quality of the teaching and assessment process.

©2011Published byElsevier Ltd.Selectionand/orpeer-review under responsibilityof Dr ZaferBekirogullari. Keywords: teachers evaluation, goals of evaluation, assessors

1. Teacher evaluation - general consideration

The teachers are "one of the most most important variables that influence the results of the learning process." (Ausubel, D. and Robinson, F., 1981, p. 528). The numerous studies that were done prove the fact that the "equation" of the efficient teacher is complex and difficult to find. Teacher evaluation is a priority of the educational system, always renewable, because there are solutions for all types of teacher evaluation. When speaking about

* Corresponding author. Tel. +64 - 6744812886; fax: +64 - 6236526465. E-mail address: otiliac^sv.ro

1877-0428 © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Dr Zafer Bekirogullari. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.11.220

teacher evaluation, we find a lot of bibliographical references which analyze the evaluation paths (Seldin, 2000; Ludlow, 2005; Boyd, 1989; Loup, Garland, Ellett, & Rugutt, 1996) as well as the methods through which one could measure a teacher's performance (Darling-Hammond, L., Wise, A. E., & Pease, S. R., 1983; De Landsheere, 1992; Danielson, 2002; Tucker & Strong, 2001; Rennert-Ariev, 2005, Dumitriu, C, 2005).

De Landsheere G. and V. (1992, 459) appreciate that teachers' evaluation can be ccamctivs and fcamctivs. Formative evaluation helps the teacher acknowledge their own strenghts and weaknesses in teaching, and improve their didactic activity. Normative evaluation is the one that draws hierachies among teachers with regard to their professional competence. „Such a comparative appreciation is inevitably unjust, due to the differences that may exist in choosing the objectives, in personal characteristics, and in the work conditions." (De Lansheere, 1992, p. 460). This type of normative evaluation of teachers is done when a hierarchy is required to bestow some sort of prize for excellency or, on the contrary, to take punitive measures ( in the case of exclusion from the system).

The issue of assessing the teachers in primary and secondary education differs from country to country and from institution to institution. However, a series of questions are asked in all cases. These refer to: purpose (to what purpose is the evaluation conducted?), content (what exactly is assessed?), assessors (who does the evaluation?), methods (how is the evaluation done?) and results (how are the results revalued?). Ioan Jinga (2004) underlines that the purpose of evaluation is different function of the country. For example: England:

- increasing the quality of services provided by the educational institution

- improving the teaching -learning process

- relating the individual assessment to the general assessment and development of a particular institution

- identifying the teacher's weaknesses and discussing them openly with the teacher

- helping the ones with difficulties become better

- improving the teacher's morale, consolidating their professional status and improving the quality of teaching.

Scotland:

- identifying the necessities in the domain of perfecting teacher training

- enhancing the teachers' degree of professionalism

- improving teaching standards.

Canada:

- the way in which the person evaluated in aware of how they are perceived by the students and the management team and providing the psychic confort for each teacher, an atmosphere of confidence and individual development.

U.S.A. - improving teachers' performances, the key to amending and perfecting the American education.

We can conclude that the purpose of evaluation would be to perfect the quality of teaching in conformity with the mission and the objectives of the institution, so that this is also visible in the quality of student's perfomance and , implicitly, that of the school.

In order for us to find out what the primary school teachers think about the ways in which they are assessed, about the methods and purposes of evaluation, we distributed a questionnaire to a number of teachers who work in primary education.

Methodology

The method which underlies the investigational steps is the questionnaire-based inquiry. The questionnaire was conceived in 2010 by a group of researchers coordinated by Professor Ettore Felisatti at the University of Padua, Italy (Emilia Restiglian, Caudio Bittante, Cristina Mazzucco, Ana Rurac). It contains a number of 73 closed-ended questions, with answer variants from 1 to 5, where 1 is total disagreement and 5 total agreement. The items of the questionnaire refer to the following aspects:

o teachers' opinion on the purposes of evaluation in the life long learning process (warranting professional development, emphasizing teachers' strengths and weaknesses);

o on who should conduct the assessment process (experts, the manager, other teachers etc.);

o on when the evaluation should take place;

o on what aspects should be included (theoretical competencies, practical ones, relational ones);

Otllla CLIPA /Procedia - SocialandBehavioralSciences 29(2011) 158 - 163

o on what instruments should be used in evaluation (school documents, theoretical tests, practical tests, the portfolio etc.);

o on which should the criteria and methods be; o on which aspects should be remembered for ulterior assessments; o on how the results of the evaluation should be communicated.

The main objectives of the experiment were focused on learning the teachers' perception of the following aspects: which should the purposes of evaluation be and who should conduct teachers' evaluation. Regarding the purposes of evaluation, teachers had to choose answers for the following statements:

- warranting career development,

- emphasizing teachers' strengths and weaknesses,

- emphasizing those professional aspects that necessitate sustenance,

- underlining intervention paths for improving their activity,

- asking for life-long learning programmes,

- encouraging professional resposibility,

- stimulating confrontation with colleagues,

- promoting personal and social prestige,

- favouring quality enhancement of the social system. Regarding the ideal profile of the assessor, teachers could choose from:

- experts in the field of education (MECTS, Inspectorate);

- experts from a ministry agency;

- experts from an institution external to the school system;

- university professors;

- the school's manager;

- a different school's manager;

- teachers at the same school;

- teachers at a different school.

The instrument was applied in the period March - May 2011, on a sample with 121 primary school teachers in the Bukovina county. All these teachers are graduates from the Faculty of Sciences of Education. The participants were informed about the usage of the data obtained thorugh the questionnaire and were asked to complete it. The participants were insured confidentiality with respect to thir answers.

The data on the mean and median of didactic degree, years of work, age, as well as the mean of the graduation exam and years of study is found in the table beneath:

Table 1. The statistical data about sample

Mean of Mean of Years of Number of Years Didactic

Graduation Exam Study of Work Age Degree

N Valid 121 121 121 121 121

Missing 0 0 0 0 0

Mean 9.2089 8,8844 4,5041 32,9917 2,2231

Median 9.3500 8,9000 5,0000 35,0000 3,0000

We notice that the median for the number of years of teaching experience is 4.5, which means that the majority of teachers have significant job experience. We cand also notice that the mean of the respond ents' age is 32 and the median is 35. At the same time, in our lot of subjects there are only a few who do not have work experience, tha majority holding the first didactic degree and a great number of work years. This thing indicates the fact that, since the predominant respondents are experienced teachers, we can consider their answers as being representative of the teachers' perception of teacher evaluation.

Results and interpretation

In this paper we display some of the significant data that surfaced as a result of our analyzing the statistics. We ascertained that there are significant positive correlations between age, length of service, didactic degree, the average of the graduation exam, the general average of university study years, and some of the items with respect to which teachers are assessed. There are significant positive correlations between the teachers' answers saying that the purpose of evaluation could be "emphasizing teachers' strengths and weaknesses" and their age (p<0,05, r(119) = 0,240). Older teachers consider that evaluation could be a way of emphasizing strengths, as well as weaker points.

There are also significant positive correlations between the variable age, length of service (p<0,05, r(119) = 0,212, (p<0,05, r(119) = 0,210) and the answer to the item which explains the fact that evaluation could underline those professional aspects that can be improved. These show that older teachers who have more work experience consider that evaluation has an objective the improvement of certain professional aspects. These results can be corroborated with the results of another study in which teachers with a great length of service consider that permanent training is very necessary, while those with a shorter length of service view it as less necessary (Clipa, O., Ignat A.A, Stanciu, M. 2008, p. 838). Results demonstrate that teachers who have been working for many years are more aware of the need to learn and be very well prepared professionally, and that assessment can diagnose training needs.

Apllying the Independent Sample T- Test we obtained the result that there are significant differences between the younger ones' perception and the perception of people over the age median. The value of t (121) = 2,701, p = 0,008) proves this difference between the perceptions of the under 35- year-olds and the over 35-year-olds.

Table 2. Independent sample t test results of the perception of assessment as diagnosis for the training needs according to

Variable Age N Mean SD t df p

The difference between teachers' perception of < 35 63 4.31 .71 2.701 119 .008

the purpose of evaluation function of their age > 35 58 4.00 .56

Also, there are significant positive correlations between evaluation seen as a possibility to demand permanent training and the respondents' age. Thus the values of p=0,10 and r (119) = 0,233 show that older respondents consider that evaluation can have as a purpose the demand for continuing training.

Evaluation has also been perceived as a measure to encourage professional responsibility to a significantly higher extent by those who have more work experience than by those with less work experience, in terms of years of work. Thus, we considered the length of service median (5 years) and we compared the mean obtained for the teachers' perception of evaluation as a factor of increasing professional responsibility. The results were significant, proving that teachers who have worked for fewer years do not consider this as a purpose of evaluation, but those who have worked for more than 5 years think evaluation could be a way of making one more professionaly responsible.

Table 3. Independent sample t test results of perception of assessment as a possibility of becoming more professionally

responsible according to years of work

„ . ,, Years Variable , work of N Mean SD t df p

Perception of assessment as a possibility of < 5 becoming more professionally responsible according to years of work > 5 65 56 4.36 4.03 .67 .80 2.474 119 .015

What is also interesting are the significant positive and negative correlations between the perception of the evaluation purpose seen as a professional confrontation with the colleagues and other purposes perceived by these,

Otilia CLIPA /Procedia - Social and BehavioralSciences29 (2011) 158 - 163

as well as the averages obtained in the graduation exam and during the study years. In the following table we can notice these significant correlations.

Table 4. Correlations between some evaluation purposes and the mean of the garduation exam and of the study years

M SD 1 2 3

1 Stimulating professional confrontation with colleagues 3.12 1,21 1

2 Emphasizing teachers' strengths and weaknesses 3.90 1.05 ,249** 1

3 The demand for continuing education 3.85 0.88 ,220* 0.162 1

4 Promoting personal and social prestige 3.64 1.07 447** 0.049 0.268**

5 Mean of years of study 8.88 0.56 ,281** 0.024 -0,133

6 Mean of graduation exam 9.20 0.50 -,196* 0.132 -0.045

0,017 0,020

0.543*

**p<.01 * p<0.5

We can notice that the teachers whose averages are lower do not think evaluation should be considered a professional confrontation with the colleagues, while those whose marks are better think one of the evaluation purposes could be this confrontation. At the same time, those who agree that evaluation is professional confrontation also consider it a possibility of measuring teachers' strengths and weaknesses, and think that through assessment there can be promoted personal and social prestige.

If we refer to the item linked to the assessor's ideal portrait, the teachers' perception of this aspect vary according to age and the other variables.

Table 5. Correlations between some aspects of portrait of assessors and the mean of the years of study and of the age

_1_2_3_4_5_6 7 8

1 Experts from a ministry agency 1

2 Experts from an external institution 0,272** 1

3 The school manager -0,013 -0.073 1

4 Another school's manager

5 The fellow teachers

6 Teachers from another school

8 Mean of years of study **p<01 * p<0.5

0225** 0,462** 0,048 1

-0,031 0,006 0,465** 0,184* 1

0,224* 0,296** 0,000 0,685** 0,371** 1

°,°°8 -0,12° °,148 0,235** 0051 0.204* 1

0.083 -0.201* 0,030 -0.171 -0,014 0,042 0,189* 1

When analysing the table above we can ascertain that there are significant positive correlations between the teachers who consider that the assessor can come from an external agency and those who think the assessor can be another school's manager or colleagues from a different school. These choices demonstrate the fact that the teachers prefer as assessors people foreign to their working environment because they think these ones may be more objective than the ones from the same school. Another significant, while nagtive, correlation can be noticed between age and the choice of an assessor who is the manager of a different school or a teacher in a different school. This means that older people choose rather not to be assessed by the manager of a different school or by external teachers. Therefore, the more the years of experience, the more the teachers think it is the manager of their own school who can assess them better, since they know them better; or it could be that this statistical data proves the fact that, in time, the passivity grows towards change, towards unknown assessors or towards being assessed in unknown circumstances.

Conclusions:

The results obtained after the quantitative analysis help to figure out more clearly the goals and the desired assessor from the teachers' perspective. We noticed that the evaluation purposes depend to a great extent on the length of service, age, learning performances. The same results were obtained by other researchers (Kauchak, Peterson, & Driscoll, 1985, Colby, Bradshaw, & Joyner, 2002, Clipa, 2011).

Also, the fact that teachers choose to be assessed by evaluators from outside the education system is in conformity with studies that proved that head teachers' evaluation reports are in fact inadequate methods for assessing the teachers, due to lack of fidelity and validity (Medley & Coker, 1987; Scriven, 1981; Stodolsky, 1984, Kenneth, 2004).

It is important that elements of the culture of assessment be introduced in schools (Ingvarson & Chadbourne, 1997), and that the teacher evaluation methods be varied, too Boyd, 1989; Loup, Garland, Ellett, & Rugutt, 1996.

The final data helps to build a better system of evaluation for teacher in in-service teacher training and for optimizing the quality of the teaching and assessment process.

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