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Teacher Evaluation and Effectiveness

NCTM Position
The evaluation of teaching performance is an essential element of a school’s plan for strengthening teaching practice to improve the learning of all students. The evaluation of teaching performance and the effectiveness of mathematics teachers should be connected to ongoing professional development.

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics believes that the evaluation of teaching effectiveness must include the active participation of the teacher in all phases of the evaluative process. Increasing demands for accountability have led policymakers, school districts, professional organizations, and teacher education programs to focus their efforts on evaluating teacher knowledge, performance, and effectiveness. It is expected that those who evaluate mathematics teachers possess a knowledge of mathematics and of the effective teaching of mathematics. In conducting teacher evaluations, they should use criteria related to mathematics content, instructional strategies, and assessment of students’ performance as described in the vision of mathematics education expressed in Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM 2000).

The most effective evaluation is one based on a mutually agreed upon plan for professional growth that is developed from clear goals and may include online professional development and conferencing capability. Effective evaluations should include the collection and reflective analysis of a wide range of information drawn from various sources on teaching—such as self-assessments and reflections, observations, interviews, teacher portfolios and input from supervisors and building-based administrators—as well as from multiple measures of student performance.

Effective teacher evaluation programs link teaching to ongoing professional development opportunities that address the needs identified by both the teacher and the evaluator(s). Evaluation must balance the identification of strengths and positive aspects of performance with the identification of areas needing improvement. Teacher evaluation should strengthen practice. In addition to creating plans for professional improvement, teacher evaluation programs must also encourage personal and collegial reflection. The goal is for the teacher to become a reflective practitioner. Therefore, the evaluator(s) should work closely with the teacher to ensure that the teacher evaluation process is used to enhance the professional development of the teacher, increase the effectiveness of mathematics teaching, and realize the improvement of student performance.

(Last revision/adoption: November 2005)