Teacher Appraisal

I hope you have all been keeping safe.

A couple of years ago I was commissioned by the British Council to write a literature review on teacher evaluation in ELT. This was published in 2018 and is available here. Late in 2019, the Regional Center for Education Planning (RCEP) invited me to produce an updated and expanded analysis of teacher appraisal more generally (i.e. not specific to ELT) and this has recently been published. There are two documents:

Teacher Appraisal Working Paper
Teacher Appraisal Policy Brief

The Working Paper is a detailed analysis of the theory and practice of teacher appraisal worldwide while the Policy Brief provides a more concise overview of key issues.

Teacher appraisal can be defined simply as the process through which judgements about teacher competence are made. Factors that enhance this process are analysed in the reports, leading to this definition of effective teacher appraisal:

A multidimensional but coherent process which acknowledges the complexity of teaching, is grounded in sound standards, employs a range of good quality measures, utilises input from a range of appropriately prepared stakeholders (including teachers themselves), has discriminatory power, facilitates fair decisions, gives teachers at various points of their careers appropriate levels of support, and contributes to teacher professional development, career advancement, positive school cultures and improved student outcomes. [Borg, S. (2019). Contemporary perspectives on teacher appraisal: A working paper. RCEP, p. 2]

While the field of teacher appraisal is characterised by a large theoretical and research literature, concrete accounts of how teacher appraisal systems operate in language education contexts around the world remain limited. Evidence is also scarce about the effectiveness of language teacher appraisal systems – i.e. how far they support professional development, career advancement, positive school cultures and improved student outcomes.

One reason that evidence of this kind is important is that while it is possible to design what looks (on paper) like an effective teacher appraisal system, it is only through the systematic evaluation of what happens in practice that judgements about effectiveness can be made.

I would be interested in hearing about your experiences of teacher appraisal around the world, for example:

  • Do you work in a system or institution where teachers are appraised?
  • How often does appraisal take place?
  • What criteria are teachers appraised against?
  • Who conducts the appraisal?
  • What kinds of evidence are used to assess teacher competence?
  • How are the results of teacher appraisal used?
  • What benefits does teacher appraisal have for teachers, institutions and students?

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