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Thursday, April 13, 2006

How Do We Evaluate Virtual School Teachers?

It is probably good that ended the entires containing the list of links off with one that included links to teaching online or in a virtual school. I think I included this link the last time I posted an entry about virtual teaching (see Teaching in Virtual Schools), if not it has been sitting in my Bloglines ever since then. The entry I'm talking about is Evaluating Online Teachers from Darren over at Teaching and Developing Online.

His entry actually links to an entry from another blog, Bits and Bytes, where the author simply quotes from an article entitled Evaluating Online Teachers Is Largely a Virtual Task without any commentary of her own.

Now I have been involved as a practicing teacher in evaluations of the job that I was doing in the classroom, where the principal came in and watched me teach a lesson, filled out a form that was mostly circles to fill in, and then sat down with me a few days later and we discussed what he saw and the particular selections he had made in those circles. Before that, as a student teacher in my pre-service Education program I was observed and evaluated four times by an Assistant Principal, using this form that had a few circles to be filled in and a general comments area that made up about half of the one page document.

As a student in teacher education, I have been a field instructor for secondary social studies student teachers where we would meet with the student for a half hour before the observation, observe the student teach, sit down with them for an hour or soin a post-observation conference, and then write up a two to four page report which addressed seven or eight essay style questions about what we had observed and discussed.

As someone who has been involved, but never evaluated as an online instructor, I often wonder how it is being done? And more importantly, how it should be done?

Any thoughts?

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Blogger Ray Rose said...

Are you aware that the virtual school programs that have been in existance for a while are doing this on a formal basis?

VHS and FlVS both have standards articulated for teachers. And both, as well as a number of other well established programs have staff who have the responsibility for staff evaluation. Of course the evaluation program needs to reflect the organization of the virtual school. VHS teachers aren't adjuncts or VHS staff. FLVS has both full-time faculty and adjuncts, and many others operate with adjuncts.

4:48 PM  
Blogger MKB said...

Most virtual schools have a formal system of evaluation. Teh problem is that in most instances they are loosely based or only slightly modified from some classroom-based assessment tool.

I do know that the VHS has developed what I am told is a fairly good evaluation model, but when have contacted them (on behalf on another state sponsored virtual school that was just starting up at the time), I was told that they don't share it.

The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) have created a list of skills required for virtual school teachers to possess, which could also be used as a model for evaluation purposes (or at least adatped for that purpose).

I should also note that both the VHS and FLVS teach based on an asynchronous model. What about virtual schools that have largely or significant synchronous components?

Plus there is the bigger issue, while it is difficult to quantify good teaching in the classroom, most people can agree that we know it when we see it. I don't believe that the same can be said of virtual teaching!

So the larger queston then becomes, what constitutes good virtual teaching? Or put another way, what would I see if I saw good virtual teaching? And maybe there is a need to divide that question into: a) what does good asynchronous virtual teaching look like? and b) what does good synchronous good teahing look like?


6:32 PM  

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