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Teacher Evaluation

The Charge and the Challenges


Kate O'Hara

The evaluation of teachers is at the forefront of national discussion, with the divide on the topic growing increasingly deeper. Teachers are under attack, in a war waged from the top down, complete with private entities, standardization, and a limited view of what it means to be «good» or «effective». In both teacher preparation programs and in our public schools, teachers entering the profession and practicing in classrooms face evaluation measures that are biased, unreliable, and reliant upon quantitative outcomes. Teacher Evaluation: The Charge and the Challenges aims to «talk back» to the national rhetoric about teacher evaluation and accountability measures, with a call for all educators, policy makers, activists, scholars, and reformers to engage in critical dialogue and democratic practices.
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Chapter 2. Producing Professionals: Analyzing What Counts for edTPA


We are not new to the lesson planning process. As former high school language arts teachers, K-12 language arts coordinators, and district level leaders, we have been immersed in issues related to curriculum development, standardized testing, and faculty development for a long, long time. Our move to higher education placed us in teacher education programs where we taught curriculum planning to childhood, secondary, and special education candidates for nearly a decade. We think we have a pretty good understanding of what a good lesson plan looks like and how the learning objectives should include content, a behavior, and a listing of the conditions and criteria to measure the meeting of the objective and verify individual understanding, and we both stress to our students—all teacher candidates—the critical importance of connecting the stated objective to the steps of the lesson and, ultimately, to the evaluation.

Often, these are difficult concepts for teacher candidates to master, and one wonders if any teacher ever really “masters” anything in the profession, given differences in learners, the environment, the culture of an organization, and the changing concepts of what it means to be an educated person. Some teacher candidates pick up the lesson planning process quickly, but others struggle to see the difference between telling (essentially lecturing or ← 19 | 20 → demonstrating) and teaching (a much more complicated process that includes pre-assessing, scaffolding, planning multimodal instruction, providing guided practice, and developing an evaluation tool that adequately assesses knowledge and understanding). But, with additional...

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