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Peer Review: Getting Serious About Teacher Support and Evaluation
SRI International and J. Koppich & Associates have completed a study of two exemplary PAR programs in two California school districts: Poway Unified (San Diego County) and San Juan Unified (Sacramento County). Under peer review, carefully selected experienced teachers, called Consulting Teachers, provide intensive support to beginning teachers and underperforming veterans and then conduct their evaluations. Key findings include:
- Integrating support and evaluation works. Consulting Teachers successfully provide deep support to PAR teachers and conduct rigorous performance evaluations.
- Consulting Teachers provide very comprehensive assessments of teachers’ practice. Consulting Teachers conduct an average of 5 formal and 38 informal observations per year per participating teacher. Principals conduct on average 1 formal and 2 informal observations. Not surprisingly, Consulting Teachers’ evaluation reports are much more thorough than the principals’ reports.
- PAR Governance Boards, in addition to overseeing the work of Consulting Teachers, serve as union-management problem solving arenas. Issues surface at Board meetings and union and management officials solve them on the spot.
- PAR acts as a springboard for collaborative union-management decision-making around high-stakes issues. In Poway and San Juan, union and management together confront tough issues of teacher support and evaluation and reach agreement on how to proceed in ways that are both fair and accountable.