New Means for Assessing Teachers

Jun 13, 2011

Raising student achievement through new teaching methods is one of Kentucky's ongoing goals.  It’s been on the minds of education activists with the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. Sarah Buhayar is the program manager of the Measures of Effective Teaching, which sponsored by the Gates Foundation.  Buhayar, who's been working with the Prichard Committee, says much of their research focuses on student evaluation of teachers.

“Things like this class we learn a lot almost every day…in this class we learn to correct our mistakes… things like our class stays busy and doesn’t waste time,” said Buhayar.

Teachers need feedback, especially from students.  Buhayar adds classroom instruction benefits when there are multiple layers of evaluation.

“That’s hard to do when there is only one observation or one test score, but we think that if teachers had multiple data points about their own work and their own kids that should help folks get better,” added Buhayar.

Self-assessment is one way to find more productive and efficient teaching methods.  For example, teachers can benefit when watching themselves on tape.

“One of the biggest benefits cited from the three thousand teachers in our study is the opportunity to watch their lessons on video after we recorded them for our study.  You know, across the board in all the districts says that experience has been extremely powerful for them.  Just to be able to see themselves and see their students and watch what they are doing,” explained Buhayar.

Buhayar has been working with Kentucky's Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.  The education advocacy group speaks this Tuesday with middle and high school teachers from Kentucky about their participation in a pilot literacy and math education project.