This national evaluation report focuses on the implementation of teacher appraisal within the wider context of improving teacher capability and student outcomes. It explores the relationships between schools’ appraisal practices and:
This report is part of a suite of ERO reports on board of trustees’ employer responsibilities to improve outcomes for students.
The Ministry of Education (the Ministry) asked ERO to evaluate teacher appraisal and report on the quality of current practice, in particular how appraisal supports the improvement of teacher practices and student outcomes.
This request was in response to the 2011 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) evaluation of New Zealand’s evaluation and assessment framework to improve school outcomes. The OECD concluded the following:
In New Zealand the key self-review components are within the school planning and reporting cycle that includes the strategic plan, the annual plan, principal performance management, teacher performance management (of which teacher appraisal is part), and a focus on student achievement data and information about valued student outcomes (this includes student retention and engagement information).
This report focuses on teacher appraisal and its link to school planning, student targets, and teacher PLD.
Other 2013 ERO reports related to employment and appraisal are:
Performance management systems were first introduced in schools in 1987. Annual appraisal of principals and teachers became mandatory in 1997. The Ministry published a series of guidelines in 1997, which provided boards, principals and teachers with an overview of performance management. The guidelines described the mandated requirements and provided information to help schools develop and implement an appraisal system. The guidelines outlined how appraisal can meet two purposes:
The guidelines explain that effective appraisal involves observation of teaching, self‑appraisal, and opportunities for discussion. Boards of trustees appraise the principal and most delegate responsibility to principals to ensure teachers are appraised annually. Principals must then report the appraisal outcomes to boards.
The mandatory appraisal requirements consist of two sets of teaching standards.
In 2011 the New Zealand Teachers Council (Teachers Council) developed Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners as a guide to developing cultural competence for teachers, for their employers, and for providers of initial teacher education and ongoing teacher professional learning. These cultural competencies align closely with the Registered Teacher Criteria.
School leaders have a pivotal role in ensuring appraisal processes are working well and result in improved teaching and outcomes for students. They need to develop processes that balance the focus on improvement with the requirements for accountability. A summary of the research (for example, Fullan 2011, Sinnema 2005) highlights that appraisal must:
This same research was used to develop Ruia: Teacher Appraisal for Māori learners’ success.Ruia guides schools through a robust process to use appraisal as a tool to improve Māori student outcomes. The research and work in schools shaped the following principles highlighting how appraisal:
Information for this report was drawn from three sources:
The online survey gathered detailed information from principals about the schools’ documented policies and procedures, monitoring processes, training, sources of information and advice, and appraisal practices. It also asked them to report how effective they thought their appraisal system was in improving teacher practices and outcomes for all students.
The demographic characteristics of responding schools were generally similar to those of all schools nationally.
Further information about the methodology can be found in Appendix 1.