New Assumption #2: Principals As Team Leaders Determine Effectiveness
Principals facilitate and lead teacher teams as the most effective way to assess teacher effectiveness. Principals and teachers who work together effectively have a greater impact on student achievement (Owen, 2015). Through observations, interactions, conversations and the real work of engaging in school teams, the principal will make determinations of a teacher's effectiveness within the context and culture of the local school.
This system is very different from a set of standardized skills, domains, behaviors or classroom observations alone. The school teams create the environment where collective efficacy can thrive, and a teacher's ability to function within a collaborative culture becomes the primary subject being evaluated. Each team, guided by the principal, provides multiple views and perspectives on high-quality teaching, creating a shared meaning and understanding, reducing bias and placing emphasis on what actually works.
This new assumption would add context to the classroom and the school, linking teachers and principals to the shared mission of the school and to collaborative action plans to move forward. It would also reduce bias, because the meaning of quality teaching is constructed collectively and shared.
New Assumption #3: Success Isn’t Individual
Teachers demonstrate their effectiveness by being an active member of a professional learning community. The number one factor in student achievement is collective efficacy (Donohoo, Hattie & Eel Is, 2018), so the collective is what we need to build up.
This new assumption assesses a teacher's ability to perform in a professional learning community, and his or her contributions to the collective efficacy of the team. While completely eliminating subjectivity from a performance evaluation is impossible, aligning evaluation systems to this new assumption will free principals from evaluating the outputs of teaching (delivering lessons) and instead put principals on the front end, working with teachers on inputs: lesson planning, data analysis, professional learning, resource sharing and collaboration. The best way for a teacher to demonstrate their effectiveness is to be a part of a vibrant and productive learning community. Technical teaching, engaging students, delivering content, pedagogy, presentation—that's all the result of collaboration.