The Purposeful Cycle of Formative and Summative Observation

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Everyday, I am amazed by the bad practice that is perpetrated on teachers every day, at campus after campus, when it comes to summative evaluation.  I constantly have to remind school leaders that the reason why teachers don’t trust the evaluation process is mostly due to… school leaders.  Here are just two related examples and an easy to implement solution. 

Too many schools make one or both of the following mistakes. One, campus leadership conducts summative observations almost as soon as the school year begins.  This is asinine.  “Welcome back to school, I’ll determine the trajectory of your career next week.”

Two, campus leadership conducts summative observations without meaningful formative support. “Welcome back to school, here are your 210 students, curriculum binders, and three preps.  Oh, and make sure that you work harder, faster and longer so you impress me the first time I visit your room.”

Instead do this… Engage in a purposeful cycle of formative and summative observation with clearly delineated (and posted on the staff calendar) time windows for each.  See below:     

August to October 15 Use high volume Formative observations (PowerWalks) to cue new practices, build new instructional habits, and improve the quantity and quality of delivered best practice.

October 15 to October 31 First round of Summative observations (should be at least 30 minutes in length).

November 1 – November 30 PowerWalks to cue new practices, build new instructional habits, and improve the quantity and quality of delivered best practice.

December Second round of Summative observations (at least 20 minutes in length).

Complete the summative conferences for EXEMPLAR teachers. If no issues arise during Spring formative observations… the appraisal process for EXEMPLAR teachers can be completed by the end of the Fall Semester.

January to February 15 PowerWalks to cue new practices, build new instructional habits, and improve the quantity and quality of delivered best practice.

February 16 – February 28 Third round of Summative observations (at least 30 minutes in length) for non-exemplar teachers

Complete the summative conferences for ACCEPTABLE teachers. If no issues arise during Spring formative observations… the appraisal process for ACCEPTABLE teachers can be completed by the end of February.

March 1 – March 31 PowerWalks to cue new practices, build new instructional habits, and improve the quantity and quality of delivered best practice.

April 1 to April 15 Fourth round of Summative observations (at least 20 minutes in length) for rookie and struggling teachers.

Complete the summative conferences for rookie and struggling teachers.

April 16 to End of School Year PowerWalks to support beta testing of new practices, programs, and procedures to be used at the beginning of the next school year.

I have included a sample calendar that illustrates the above.

The biggest complaint on what I nave presented is that this represents a significant investment in time by leadership. Yes, it does.  But if leadership isn’t investing a significant amount of time to improve and increase teacher capacity, is that actually leading?

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook
The Embarrassment of “Low” Common Assessment Scores
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