Teacher evaluation policies and practices in Australian states and their relation to quality teaching and learning

Year: 2001

Author: Kleinhenz, Elizabeth, Ingvarson, Lawrence, Chadbourne, Rod

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

There is now broad acknowledgement that student learning is directly linked to the knowledge and skills of teachers. It is a short step from this understanding to recognising the importance of teacher evaluation in schools. The education systems in all Australian states now have teacher evaluation policies and practices in place, but it is as yet unclear whether the directions that are currently being taken will result in the desired improvements in teacher performance or even whether basic goals of accountability will be met. ACER and Edith Cowan University are currently engaged in the second year of a three year research project that maps teacher evaluation practices across all Australian states and territories. This paper reports on some of the findings of the project. A critical discussion of the "top down" performance management systems that are linked to pay increases in some states is offered and three specific and relatively recent initiatives in teacher evaluation at the "accomplished teacher" level are discussed in some detail. These are the evaluations for the Victorian Experienced Teacher with Responsibility (ETWR) and Western Australian Level 3 Classroom Teacher positions, and the UK "Threshold" classification. It is argued throughout the paper that progress will only be made when the limitations imposed upon teacher evaluation by "loose coupling" are overcome and teachers are encouraged to participate in the development of evaluation systems that respect to the complexity and depth of their professional knowledge and practice.