feedback about how to improve their
practice” (p. 14). Even when supervisors
do provide feedback, it is often too
infrequent to improve performance.
We’ve frequently heard teachers
express frustration when their supervisor implies there are no areas they
need to improve. One teacher said that
she felt cheated after being told for
years by her supervisor that everything
was fine. After engaging in a year of
self-assessment that included analyzing
videos of her own teaching, she realized
she had many opportunities to improve;
she felt empowered by the realization
that she no longer had to passively “wait
for the principal to come in” and hope
for meaningful feedback.
Creating a system that helps teachers
evaluation but fail to use it to support
teacher’s efforts to become reflective
practitioners on a pathway toward
results by using only half of the
equation. Three days of high-stakes
testing does not improve student
evaluation does not improve teacher
performance. Only by empowering
hensive teaching frameworks can we
ensure that the evaluation system
improves teacher effectiveness, rather
than merely measuring it. EL
process but received no specific
expertise, we are trying to obtain ideal
learning, and three days of high-stakes
teachers as the central users of compre-
themselves generate continual, accurate
feedback can enable them to improve.
Observation and evaluation by a
Once a school has established a shared
supervisor may take place three times a
understanding of a model of effective
year or even less frequently. In contrast,
teaching, individual teachers can use
self-directed improvement becomes
a wide range of approaches to gen-
a habit of mind that guides teachers’
erate and receive feedback without the
instructional decisions every day. After
involvement of a supervisor (Marzano,
engaging in a variety of self-assessment
Frontier, & Livingston, 2011). These
strategies, one teacher wrote,
approaches include student surveys
that ask students about the frequency
of effective teaching behaviors, self-
directed video analyses of specific com-
ponents of one’s own teaching, collegial
dialogues, and instructional rounds that
enable teachers to reflect on visits to
other teachers’ classrooms.
I think any of those things individually might have had a minor
impact on my teaching, but the peer
observation, combined with the video
observation, combined with the group
discussion . . . together provided a really
powerful experience in terms of being
able to say, “There are some really specific things I can do right now, and some
things I can do down the road.”
Honoring adults as self-directed
learners encourages them to tackle
For most teachers who engage
more rigorous improvement goals.
in these processes, this awareness
Danielson, C. (2007). Enhancing professional
practice: A framework for teaching. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Ericsson, A., Charness, N., Feltovich, P.,
& Hoffman, R. (Eds.). (2006). The Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert
performance. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Marzano, R. (2007). The art and science
of teaching: A comprehensive framework
for effective instruction. Alexandria, VA:
Marzano, R., Frontier, A., & Livingston, D.
(2011). Effective supervision: Supporting the
art and science of teaching. Alexandria, VA:
Mielke, P. (2012). Investigating a systematic
process to develop teacher expertise: A
comparative case study (Unpublished dissertation). Cardinal Stritch University,
Stiggins, R. (2004). New assessment beliefs
for a new school mission. Phi Delta
Kappan, 86( 1), 22–17.
Weisberg, D., Sexton, S., Mulhern, J., &
Keeling, D. (2009). The widget effect:
Our national failure to acknowledge and
act on differences in teacher effectiveness.
Brooklyn, NY: New Teacher Project.
Of course, teachers cannot direct all
results in a set of specific—and ambi-
components of a supervision and evalu- tious—improvement goals. When adult
ation system. But allowing teachers to
learners are empowered to objectively
generate data about their own teaching, analyze and understand their own
identify their own areas of focus, and
practice and have a clear vision of where
establish their own improvement goals
they can improve, they are intrinsically
can increase teacher motivation and
motivated to embark on a pathway that
engagement. When teachers participate leads to expertise.
in these self-assessment protocols, they
are remarkably adept at identifying
Beyond High-Stakes Evaluation
specific areas of need and pathways
If we use a research-based teaching
to improvement (Mielke, 2012).
framework for summative teacher
Paul Mielke (firstname.lastname@example.org
.us) is principal of West Allis Central
High School in West Allis, Wisconsin.
Tony Frontier ( email@example.com)
is director of teacher education at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin, and coauthor, with Robert
Marzano and David Livingston, of
Effective Supervision: Supporting the Art
and Science of Teaching (ASCD, 2011).