The Student Teacher Communication Committee was a group of students at my former school, Stillwater Area High School, who proposed and experimented with a system of teacher evaluation based upon student opinion. This page gives some background information on my committee and more importantly, offers encouragement and a resource page for those who are motivated to set up a similar system at their school. If you have any questions, please e-mail me at email@example.com, and I may be able to help you.
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The STCC's single goal is to improve the quality of education through a non-threatening system of teacher evaluation.
Originally named Teacher Evaluation Committee, with a much more devious intent of getting rid of worthless teachers, the committee was forced to encounter reality and our goals changed accordingly. We began offering confidential evaluation services to teachers on a volunteer basis. In my junior year of high school just over a dozen teachers participated in our program and the results were very positive. Unfortunately, with the majority of the committee members graduated, STCC is no longer active at Stillwater Area High School. The idea behind the experimental system of evaluation, however, is still applicable to secondary education around the nation.
As you can imagine, not all teachers are especially receptive to the idea of teacher evaluation. As non-threatening as we intend to be, there still exist a number of teachers who would prefer if we would simply disappear. If you plan to start a teacher evaluation system at your school, make sure to go about it right. Most of the responses to our evaluation services, however, from students, parents, administrators, and some teachers, have been encouragingly positive. Those who participated in our program were motivated to improve their teaching, and used the results accordingly. Everyone seemed to appreciate the service except those who chose not to participate in our program, fearing the basic concept of teacher evaluation by students.
The logic behind any system of teacher evaluation by students is clear. Administrators currently evaluate tenured teachers only once every couple years, and this is executed through periodic, often pre-planned visits. Clearly, this doesn't give the administration any clear picture of the teacher's day to day attitutes and abilities concerning the education of students. Any given student however, is in contact with the teacher one hour per day every day of the school year. Now who can give a better idea of the job a teacher is doing....the administrator or the student??? The answer is clear. Education can best be improved through the feedback of students, who directly witness the effectiveness of teachers every single day of the school year.
Here is the committee/teacher contract and a sample form (band) we used in the evaluation system:
In establishing a teacher evaluation program, it is important to form a committee from a group of dedicated, responsible individuals. Keep in mind the trustworthiness of the people you choose, as confidentiality is the key to insuring teacher's trust and the success of your program. Once a committee is formed the next step is to recruit teachers who are willing to volunteer for the program. You can use our forms below as a model or create your own. After working with the individual teacher to develop a survey, administer it on a prescribed date. Then the committee gets to deal with the entertaining part....tabulation. During my high school career, the committee was active for two years, and realistically never found a very effective means of tabulation. One year, for fourteen teachers, it took the committee well into the summer and even until the next school year before we had all the results tabulated and returned.
After a couple years of experience, I have a few hints for you to keep in mind in your own exploration:
As you can see, I no longer am heading the committee because I have graduated. In fact, I don't believe the program is still in existence. Regardless, I feel strongly about the merits of student evaluation of teachers, and welcome your comments and questions; e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, my present home at Grinnell College. Thanks for visiting!!
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