Make Your Faculty Evaluation Meaningful

Vol. 7 No. 9


ISM's seminal Research for School Management (RSM) International School Project showed that two characteristics of student performance include:

  • A strong sense of community—predictability and support—within the school, including students, faculty, and administration;
  • Student perception of instructional and administrative fairness—including perceived fairness in both discipline and grading.

ISM developed a non-evaluative tool called the Faculty Culture Profile—which you can download here—that gauges how your teachers' collective set of professional attitudes and behaviors. How your faculty scores helps you see how positively your faculty is affecting student satisfaction and performance, and reveals areas that need improvement.

Classroom observation is just one aspect of seeing how your teachers are doing.

After all, what do your really learn by sitting in one, two, or even three classes? Do your teachers have written, measureable goals in relation to those activities? If not, then the observations really can't be evaluative.

Rather, faculty evaluation should be rooted in professional development, and be measureable. ISM research shows that the core of evaluation is to enhance the faculty culture, and thus deliver the mission, supporting and improving student performance.

With professional development in mind, effective evaluation gives each teacher a chance to set a personal mission, set goals, and go through a self-rating process. The teacher then presents you, or the administration, with these objectives for the coming year. You then can approve them—or not approve them if the teacher misses what you see as the mark. Generally, you will meet with a new teacher or a "problem" teacher BEFORE that teacher begins the self-evaluation process.

This type of "non-evaluation evaluation" we find is the most teacher-friendly, but those problem or toxic teachers will probably balk at the idea. The point of meaningful, professional development-based faculty evaluation is to nurture the culture; the toxic teacher thrives on disrupting it.

To get started on this process, we recommend:

  • Use the Faculty Culture Profile for a measureable (not anecdotal) evidence of where your faculty stands.
  • Get rid of your traditional evaluation practices and root your program in professional development
  • Develop your classroom observations to benefit the observer and the observed, for teachers by teachers
  • Manage by "walking around"—make short (5-15 minute), regular visits to classrooms.
  • Support professional development that is career-long, site-based, and collegial.
  • Over time, make sure that each teacher's development is assessed against the criterion of student performance.
  • Need guidance on meaningful faculty evaluation? Check out our Web site here and FAQ page.
  • You can also contact MFE Director Bill Simmer at (302) 656-4944 or
  • Looking for a publication? Check out MFE: Faculty Development and Renewal—Reference Book
  • And, The Teachers Professional Growth Workbook.
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