Practices of In- service Teacher Evaluation in Public Schools of Nepal

* Chet Nath Panta

* Nibedita Sharma

* Mahesh Adhikari

* Muna Thapa

Abstract

This article is an out of a mini- research basically dealing with the current practices of teacher evaluation in general and practices of in- service teacher evaluation in particular in public schools of Nepal. The effective implementation of in- service teacher evaluation enhances the quality of public education system. The findings indicate that despite the provisions for in- service teacher evaluation, it has not been impactful in the context of Nepal.

Key words: Teacher’s professional development, in- service, quality education

Introduction

We talk much about the public schools in Nepal, their lack of budget, lack of resources, lack of quality teachers and lack of quality education in general. The situation seems to be grim, and it may be so in many of these schools. Moreover, the question about the lack of quality teachers in public schools is the most concerning of all. If the teachers are hired through competitive public examinations and they receive trainings at regular intervals, then why is there an issue with their quality? The problem may lie in not how well the students perform in the subjects that these teachers teach, but in how well they are evaluated regarding their performance. Stronge & Tucker (2003) suggest that “without high quality evaluation systems, we cannot know if we have high quality teachers” (p. 3 as cited in Stronge, n.d.). It is only through evaluation of the practices of the teachers, which may include both external as well as self-evaluation that the teachers will be able to perform better. The role of the administration and the resource centres are key in monitoring and carrying out the external evaluation of the teachers. Atay (2007) points out that “considering teachers’ needs, experiences, and contexts as central, valuing their ideas, negotiating content, accepting teachers as experts, and encouraging them to reflect on their current beliefs and behaviors are important factors to induce long-lasting changes in teacher practices.”

Purpose of the study

The purpose of the study was to explore the practices of in-service teacher evaluation in public schools of Nepal. Likewise, we also wanted to understand the perceptions of the stakeholders and the teachers regarding the practices of in-service teacher evaluation.

 Research questions

The following research questions have been formulated to carry out thus research:

Overarching question:

  • What are the practices of in-service teacher evaluation in public schools of Nepal?

Sub- questions:

  1. What are the provisions of in-service teacher evaluation?
  2. How do teachers and stakeholders perceive the practice of in-service teacher evaluation in Nepal?

Research tools

For this mini- research, the researchers used semi- structured interview as the tool. We prepared two separate set of questions that were used to find out the opinion of the participants in the related topic.

Research participants

Initially, we were thinking that more the number of participants, the more we will understand this issue better. However, due to several reasons, we chose only four participants, one a headmaster, the other a resource person and two teachers.

Research field/ site

We conducted our research in three government schools for now from Lalitpur district.

Data analysis

The process of data analysis primarily involves making sense of out of text and collected data, which involves preparing the data for analysis, conduction of the analysis and interpreting the data, according to the themes that we generate from the data. We transcribed the data we had and found the patterns, after which we generated the themes. Based on our data, we wrote our findings and analysis placed under the themes.

Interview questions

      Questions to head teachers, supervisors and Resource persons

  1. What provisions do you have for teacher evaluation?
  2. What techniques and tools of evaluation are being practiced?
  3. How often do you evaluate your teachers?
  4. How are the outcomes of the evaluation used?
  5. How do you perceive/take the different modes of evaluation?
  6. In addition to existing practices of evaluation, are there any other ways of evaluating teachers?
  7. In addition to external modes of evaluation, what is your view on teachers evaluating themselves and being evaluated by students?

     Questions to teachers

  1. How are you evaluated here as a teacher?
  2. How often do you get evaluated?
  3. How are the outcomes of the evaluation used?
  4. How do you perceive these different modes of in-service teacher evaluation?
  5. What do you think about self-evaluation and evaluation by students?
  6. How has evaluation helped you grow professionally?

Findings and analysis

Based on the data that we collected from our participants, we narrowed down the ideas garnered into six themes to be analyzed. We have developed these themes to answer our research questions, accordingly. The themes are discussed below:

  •    Provisions and practices of in-service teacher evaluation

Our participants cited classroom observation, mandate of the school, mandate of Ministry and Department of Education, feedback from the head teachers, upgrading and promotion, reward and titles for the teachers as some of the provisions and practices of in-service evaluation.

Some of the other ways that the participants felt could evaluate in-service teachers were peer observation/evaluation, taking part in assigned work, motivating students’ learning, discussion session, preparing case studies, increasing the performance of the students and constructing the ‘Teaching Improvement Plan (TIP)’. The techniques used for evaluating the teachers were recounted as classroom observation using indicators like use of ‘Continuous Assessment System (CAS)’, profiling of the students, teacher’s performance in the classroom, teaching method and motivation. Likewise, use of project, questioning, checklist and ‘Teacher professional Development’ were also cited as the techniques of in-service teacher evaluation. Danielson & McGreal, 2000; Stronge & Helm, 1991 (as cited in Stronge n.d.) also suggest that inquiring framework, questions, assessment, communication level and skill, competency level, proficiency, effectiveness, improvement and dynamism are some components of teacher in-service evaluation: a sound evaluation system revolves around the mission and goals of the individual school and of the school district.

  • Duration of evaluation

As per the Resource Persons (RPs) and Headmasters, they evaluate their teachers continuously. A participating headmaster said that they evaluated their teachers regularly, sometimes without informing the teachers beforehand. However, our RP participant said, “Though it is a continuous process, we cannot visit each and every school every day, so we focus on examination results and discussion based on that.” Our teacher participants said that they were evaluated daily, twice a year by presenting the TIP, yearly through TPD which includes action research, project works and so on. Darling-Hammond (2012) too maintains that teacher evaluation is a part of “teaching and learning system that supports continuous improvement, both for individual teachers and for the profession as a whole” (p.2)

  •  Application of the outcomes of the evaluation

As per the headmasters and RPs, the outcomes of the evaluation helps in increasing the confidence and improving the level of teaching, it also brings innovation in teaching methods, motivates the teachers to use ICT for effective teaching and learning, for meeting the objectives of the lessons, encourages the teachers to use CAS, the teachers can increase the learning outcomes of the students by making the teachers conscious of the students’ performance. The teachers reflected that evaluation helped them improve their teaching and encourage them to grow professionally. However, one of the participants was of the opinion that “the outcomes of the evaluation are not fully utilized.” Only if teachers feel that there has been an improvement in their professional life and in the outcomes of their students’ learning will teacher evaluation be valued. There is no disagreement that teacher evaluation should be “accompanied by useful feedback, and connected to professional development opportunities” (Darling-Hammond, 2012, p.38).

  • Perceptions regarding different modes of evaluation

The RPs said that different modes of evaluation were necessary as they do not only increase the pass percentage of the students, but also indicate behavioral changes in the students as well as reflect how teachers have performed. The headmasters, however, felt that these modes of evaluation were insufficient and they need to devise their own modes of evaluation to evaluate the teachers. The teachers took these modes of evaluation very positively believing that they get feedback for better performance and also increases their “intellectual and academic height.” One of the teachers was skeptical about the effective execution of the different modes of evaluation for themselves.  Stronge (n.d.) says that these modes of evaluation are for documenting the quality of teacher performance; then, the focus shifts to helping teachers improve their performance as well as holding them accountable for their work.

  • Views on self-evaluation by teachers and evaluation by the students

The RPs felt that teachers need to evaluate themselves to understand more about the subjects that they are teaching, which they can do by constructing the TIP and peer evaluation. They think that they students should evaluate their teachers because “their feedback is important for the teachers to perform better.” The headmasters were of the opinion that the teachers could understand their own strengths and weakness if they evaluated themselves; they could do this by recording their own class. The teacher “has proven time and again to be the most influential school-related force in student achievement” (Stronge, 2002, p. viii as cited in Stronge, n.d.). The teachers also felt that self-evaluation and being evaluated by the students were important for them. One of the teachers said that if they were satisfied with their teaching practice then they felt happy, and they tried to improve if their students were unhappy with their teaching. However, one of the teachers said that though these concepts were good, “teachers themselves are not fully responsible and the students may not always know what they are evaluating their teachers for.”

  • Professional growth through evaluation

The teachers said that evaluation of their work was important for them to grow professionally. One of the teachers said that his evaluation reflected in the academic performance of the students and added, “I want to do my job responsibly and be sincere in my work that will bring about a good result in teaching learning. Evaluation has helped me in that way.” The teachers felt that whether the evaluation was from the government or internally, that only helped them perform better and enrich their performance that eventually helped them grow professionally. Professional growth means that the teachers have to balance their personal growth and their professional life, which means that balancing individual needs with institutional expectations is essential for fostering productive work environments (March & Simon, 1993 as cited in Stronge, n.d.).

 Discussion

Based on our findings and analysis, we saw that the basic teacher evaluation practices in public schools of Nepal, taking the case of Lalitpur, are mainly focused on classroom observation and students achievement in the respective teacher’s subjects. These are the key measures of teacher evaluation in our public schools, even if there are other ways to evaluate a teacher. Stronge (n.d.) also points out that observation, including classroom observation and observation of student work as well as student performance data or student achievement are the major sources of teacher evaluation, along with client feedback, portfolios and self-evaluation.

We found that students’ achievement is an important indicator of teacher evaluation; in other words, teachers feel that they themselves are being evaluated when their students perform in the class. Even the stakeholders feel that to know how effective a teacher is, the achievement of the students in their respective subject matter. In accordance to this view, Skourdoumbis (2014) points out that, “successful and enhanced student achievement is only as good as the classroom teacher and their teaching practice” (p.113). This again goes to show that students’ achievement is the achievement of the teachers.

Likewise, we also found that being able to develop personally and professionally as teachers through in-service evaluation, especially by the practice of self-evaluation, which increases the level of confidence and also helps them climb up the ladder in their profession was important to the teachers. When teachers are able to grow, they feel that they can constantly help others grow as well, be it the students or their colleagues. In a similar fashion, Coggshall et al. (2012) finds that “Professionals take charge of their own growth and development by constantly seeking to strengthen teaching and that of their colleagues” (p.14 as cited in Frank, p.4).

 Conclusion

In the context of Nepal, in-service teacher evaluation is practiced in public school somehow continuously as well as yearly. It is supposed to be a continuous process, however, due to time limit, RPs are not able to guide the teachers regularly. Though headmasters regularly observe teachers’ performance, they feel that the modes of evaluation are in-sufficient. So they want to apply their own strategies for the fulfillment of this deficiency. Similarly, teachers are also not fully satisfied with the evaluation regarding their performance. They feel that they are not developing personally and professionally, even if they are evaluated. Nonetheless, if we want quality teachers in our public schools then continuous in-service teacher evaluation is a must. This ensures that students perform well in the classroom and the teachers grow personally and professionally, which in-turn benefits the entire school and the education system.

References

Atay, D. (2007). Teacher research for professional development. ELT Journal, 62 (2), 139-147.

Hayes, D. (2000). Cascade training and teachers’ professional development. ELT Journal, 54(2), 135-145.

Frank, V. (2013). Evaluations serve as pathways for professional growth. The Learning System, 8(2), 2-7.

Skourdoumbis, A. (2014). Teacher effectiveness: Making the difference to student achievement? British Journal of Education Studies, 62 (2), 111-126.

Stronge, J. (n.d). Qualities of good teachers. Available at: http://www.ascd.org.

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