Elementary School Music

Evaluating music teachers

Posted in Prof. Development, Readings & Research by P. Conrad on May 16, 2010

As New York City revamps the way it evaluates the work done by public school teachers, staff who teach in areas without an annual standardized test are wondering what sorts of criteria will determine into which of the four categories they may fall — highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective. They may also ask themselves about the training and expertise of the supervisor who makes that determination.

Self-assessments may not have a the same value as students’ scores on a standardized test, but for a classroom music teacher, this kind of systematic evaluation (along with peer observations) can make a powerful difference in students’ success.

Evaluating teacher effectiveness in music” is a short article from the Spring 2008 issue of  American Music Teacher, and while it’s written largely from the perspective of private instructors, it contains valuable ideas on different methods and problems of self-evaluation.

The author, Kathleen S. McAllister, is a professor of piano and piano pedogogy at Baylor University in Texas. She argues that watching video of one’s own teaching is essential to any serious self-evaluation. Even a simple audio recording for later review can provide tremendous insight into the “the gap between how we think we are teaching and our actual behavior during lessons.”

Another resource is Music Teacher Self-Assessment: A Diagnostic Tool for Professional Development available from Edwin Gordon‘s GIA Publications. Authors James Froseth and Molly Weaver include a DVD that lets users examine behaviors in a teaching sample before creating their own assessment videos.

The GIA book is an outcome of a collaboration between the University of Michigan and the Flint, Michigan Community Schools during the 1991-1992 school year, part of their national music education research project.