Supervision And Evaluation--is There A Difference?


In the world of educational administration, there is a stark difference between supervision and evaluation. Though many would assume they share the core principles, they are actually very difference and unique. Despite these contrasts, an effective school administration should be able to demonstrate competency in how they supervise and evaluate their faculty and support staff.

Supervision occurs during the actual teaching-learning process. Building principals shouldn't be judging their teachers' skills and competencies, and should instead, focus on achieving positive academic outcomes. Principals' instructional supervision would include laying-out the academic goals of the school, action steps to achieve the goals, and facilitating professional development sessions to achieve such goals. Additionally, supervision of teachers would occur during professional learning communities, collaborating with teachers to identify key learnings, common assessments, and analysis of the assessment scores. Principals are expected to collaborate with their teachers to achieve academic success. Supervision requires a partnership, a solid working relationship between principal and teacher.

Evaluation, on the other hand, is the actual formal process of judging and evaluating the performance and effectiveness of a teacher. The evaluation process is typically a pre-determined process that all certified teachers undergo. Principals should evaluate several times during the year, providing meaningful feedback to teachers, so they can continue to develop instructional activities that will yield academic success. Principals should have also provided various methods to assist the teacher throughout the year. After all this is completed, the building principal can now formally evaluate the teacher's performance.

As if the job of a school principal isn't tough enough, the principal must learn how, and when, to "wear the hat" of an instructional supervisor or teacher evaluator. The expectation of a principal is that he/she is the instructional leader of the building and should be providing faculty with tools, resources, and ideas. Teachers should feel "safe" working with the principal in an instructional capacity. They should not feel as though by approaching their supervisor for support, they will automatically be evaluated poorly. But, the principal will have to take the instructional supervision process, or relationship, into consideration when making the final evaluations of teachers. Principals must determine if a teacher was able to utilize resources provided to them, consider feedback by the principal, and apply advice toward effective teaching.

Ultimately, it is the students' academic performance that will gauge the true effectiveness of not only teachers, but school administrators too. But, we'll save linking teacher evaluations to student performance for another day.

About the Author:
James Brauer is a school administrator, doctoral student, and education blogger. His blog, K12 Cornerstones, focuses on educational topics that help educators and parents "build the foundation of a successful K-12 education." He is also the editor of an online magazine for parents.

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