Appraising Teachers Across the Globe: Where the U.S. Stands

Writing for FutureEd, Andreas Schleicher reviews the findings of the second volume of the  Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Excerpts of the piece appear below.

TALIS, which surveyed 260,000 secondary school teachers and administrators worldwide, found that only 7 percent of teachers work in schools where they are never evaluated. About two thirds (64 percent) say their appraisals are most often conducted by the school principal, with others getting input from a school management team or other teachers.

In nearly all TALIS countries and economies, more than 90 percent of teachers say their work is evaluated based on classroom observations, as well as on students’ academic results. Many places rely on student survey responses related to teaching (82 percent of teachers), assessments of teachers’ content knowledge (70 percent) or self-assessments of teachers’ work (68 percent). TALIS findings indicate that, on average across the OECD, teachers who are evaluated work in schools using five of the six different methods.

Nearly all the teachers report that appraisal is “sometimes,” “most of the time,” or “always” followed by a discussion with the principal about any weaknesses in teaching. About 90 percent say that includes plans for professional development, and in seven out of 10 cases it can lead to an appointment of a mentor or a change in work responsibilities.

High-stakes consequences are less common: About half the teachers report that a poor appraisal can lead to changes in career prospects, dismissals or non-renewal of teachers’ contracts, but only 15 percent say it could lead to reduced pay increases. About two out of five say a good review can lead to increases in salary or financial bonuses.

That said, the number of teachers reporting consequences for their evaluations ratcheted up in the five years between the TALIS surveys in 2013 and 2018, particularly tying appraisal results to financial rewards and career advancement decisions. Overall, the changes suggest a growing reliance on financial and career advancement incentives as policy levers, as well as on support to teachers through mentoring, and a declining reliance on changes in teachers’ work responsibilities, dismissals and contract non-renewals.

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