The Ministry of Education is moving to develop a new evaluation mechanism to monitor teachers’ performance. Chief Education Officer (CEO) acting, Marcel Hutson said this will allow for greater accountability of teachers in terms of education delivery.
The appraisal instrument is the measuring tool that is used to access teachers’ performance competencies, for decision making such as their possible promotion. The appraisal also works to ensure that all teachers have the skills and support they need to carry out their role effectively.
Hutson in a recent interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA) explained that the old instrument that the ministry inherited is inoperable. He said that it lacked specificity in terms of spelling out clear guidelines for teachers’ evaluation. “If you talk about deportment, it (the old instrument) does not specify how a teacher should really dress…if you talk about professionalism, there is no specific behaviour that you can measure in terms of how the teachers should conduct themselves as a professional,” Hutson explained.
The new instrument will incorporate variables that are more measureable, and will not only provide for fair, effective and consistent teacher evaluation, but also for across- the -board, quality education of learners in all public schools, Hutson said.
He explained that with the new approach, the teachers would have to take “greater accountability” for the children under their care.
“People said lots of things about teachers in public school and sometimes you see the paradox in terms of behaviour pattern, because you might go into one school and you see a certain kind of behaviour that is not lending itself to quality delivery, and the same public setting you go to another school, and you see something totally different and you want to know if these teachers are from the same public system,” Hutson explained.
The official added that teachers are pivotal to the system, but if “we are going to improve and have the kind of results that we are asking for at the different levels, we have to bring all our teachers at a certain level so that they can be impacting in terms of their performance.”
Through the Secondary Improvement Project, an education consultancy team has been hired to work with the ministry on the development of the new instrument. This is expected to be completed by January 2018.
Hutson explained that Dr. Marcia Stewart; a Manager of the Quality Assurance Operations of the Joint Board of Teacher Education (JBTE), School of Education, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona is leading the team in the development of the instrument. Dr. Stewart’s experience spans several levels of the Caribbean education system with major emphasis on teacher education, programme evaluation and higher education quality assurance.