An assistant superintendent explains how her district adopted video for teacher evaluations and why she expects more districts to do the same

Prediction: The future of teacher evaluations is video

An assistant superintendent explains how her district adopted video evaluations for teachers, and why she expects more districts to do the same in the coming years

Over the last two years, educators have been forced into all kinds of unplanned experiments as we’ve searched for ways to keep students safe while continuing to advance their education amid a global pandemic.

At the Metropolitan School District of Decatur Township, we’ve found that one of the pandemic-related changes we’ll be keeping around is the use of video for teacher evaluations. I think it’s a change we’ll see a lot of other districts making in the next year or two as well.

Based on our experience, here’s how I can see it playing out across the country.

1. Teachers will overcome anxieties about video evaluations.

We hadn’t planned on using video to evaluate our teachers. A grant we secured nearly 5 years ago through the Teacher and School Leader (TSL) Incentive Program provided us access to the ADVANCEfeedback® platform, which we first used for instructional coaching.

At the outset, we weren’t really sure how to best use the platform and, to be honest, we were nervous about it. I think many of us are a little uncomfortable with the idea of being recorded on video. When you pile on making that recording at your place of work—and then asking people to watch and reflect on that recording by earmarking a timestamp and sharing their thoughts about what they’ve captured—you’re really asking people to put themselves out there.

So, we started slowly, by asking our teachers to submit 10-minute clips of themselves teaching, along with a bit of reflection about the clip. Some of our teachers, and even entire schools, really dove in and started recording and sharing a lot of videos. As we dug in across our district, we started using it more and more because we saw our teachers reflecting more and providing more self-reflecting feedback on their own to better their craft. 

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