A new national survey sheds light on how teachers value feedback and classroom observations in evaluation systems. Feedback from formal classroom observations was the most common source, but a large percentage of teachers said they had received informal feedback from other teachers or school leaders at least a few times a month. Teachers said it was more helpful to receive feedback from other teachers than school leaders because peers can provide more subject-specific feedback. The study found that teachers at high-poverty schools receive feedback from school leaders, coaches, mentors, and peers more frequently than their peers at more affluent schools. Among all teachers, more secondary school teachers received feedback than elementary teachers—but elementary teachers reported receiving feedback more frequently. Elementary teachers were more likely to get feedback from school leaders, while secondary school teachers received informal feedback from students more often. The researchers conclude the report with four main takeaways:
- Since teachers tend to consider informal feedback from peers and coaches to be more helpful, school leaders should consider how much emphasis to place on formal versus informal feedback.
- When teachers receive feedback and observations more frequently, they tend to view the evaluation systems in a more positive light. But this creates a time burden on administrators. The study suggests that one solution could be involving other teachers, coaches, and mentors as classroom observers and feedback providers.
- One way to get teacher buy-in might be to highlight how these evaluation systems are trying to promote development and growth, the study says.
- Policymakers and district leaders should also consider how to provide teachers with sufficient resources, including time, to fully benefit from these evaluation systems.