Beginning last year, West Virginia changed the way that teachers were evaluated each year. Gone are the days of a teacher with more than 5 years of experience not being evaluated ever again without their own request, a deficiency noted by their supervisor, or other extenuating circumstances. Now every teacher is evaluated every year. This requires that they set two learning goals for their students that must be able to provide data to show their success or failure.
In November of 2012, a good friend and colleague of mine, Mr. Kyle Berry, wrote a blog post addressing this topic that provides some tips for teachers when it comes to writing their goals. Being that we are at the beginning of the new school year and a lot of teachers are preparing to do this very task, I thought it would be good to share Kyle’s thoughts on the matter.
Kyle shares some simple insights that highlight the problems a lot of teachers have had in setting these new goals. For example, do not think that using your WESTEST2 scores to show your goal is a good idea. The scores from the standardize test are factored into your evaluation already. Why shoot yourself in the foot twice? Use other tools that the district provides to you like STAR or ICanLearn that track student progress over time to show the attainment, or failure, of goals you set.
Along the same lines is the idea to constantly assess the students. The more data you have, the easier it will be to show your progress towards the goal you set. If you only pre- and post-test your students, you have very little to gauge their progress, but testing their ability on STAR every 3 to 4 weeks during your goal period can provide you with tremendous amounts of data.
Kyle even goes on to provide some example goals for teachers to view to help them in writing their own. For example: “No later than April 30th, students will use the Five-Step Writing Process to gain and average overall increase of one point on an argumentative writing prompt in WV Writes” and “Using a Water Cycle assessment obtain from SMART Exchange, all students will show an average gain of 15% from the pre-test to the post-test.” These goals fit the criteria exactly. They are aligned with the expectation for your goals to be SMART (See this document if you are unfamiliar with this term).
Please take the time to read his entire post. It provides some outstanding tips to help every teacher in getting the most out of their evaluation. Kyle’s post can be found here: http://teachingaction.blogspot.com/2012/11/tips-for-goal-setting-in-new-wv-teacher.html.