Teacher evaluation following reform: the Israeli perspective

Published date08 October 2018
Date08 October 2018
AuthorOrit Avidov-Ungar
Subject MatterEducation,Curriculum, instruction & assessment,Educational evaluation/assessment
Teacher evaluation following
reform: the Israeli perspective
Orit Avidov-Ungar
Department of Education, Acva Academic College, Shikmim, Israel
Purpose This study aims to examine teachersperceptionsof teacher evaluation (also known as teacher
appraisal). In Israel and elsewhere, teacher evaluation is a cornerstone of teaching quality assurance
measures; however, detailed knowledge is lacking regarding how teachers themselves perceive it in that
Design/methodology/approach Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 22 state primary
school teachers.The data were analyzed thematically.
Findings Four themes emerged from the interviews: how teachers conceive of teacher evaluation;
teachersperceptions of how the teacher evaluation process should proceed; the advantages and
disadvantagesof the teacher evaluation process; and ways to increase the effectivenessof teacher evaluation.
A further four themesemerged regarding the purposes of evaluation from the teachersperspective:judgment
and control, dialogue, promotionand professional improvement. Overall, the teachers interviewed perceived
that their evaluation serves summative control purposes far more than the formative professional
improvement purposes for which the evaluation policywas explicitly developed. On the basis of these and
previousndings, a theoretical model of teacher evaluation and careerdevelopment is proposed.
Research limitations/implications This qualitative study intervieweda relatively small number of
teachers. The ndings suggestthat teacher evaluation conducted to assure quality teaching should be more
comprehensiveand should take place throughout the school year.
Originality/value This study is one of only very few to examine teachersperceptions of teacher
evaluationin detail.
Keywords Quality assurance, Teacher evaluation, Professional development, Teaching quality,
Teacher appraisal, Teacher perceptions
Paper type Research paper
Effective and successful teacher engagement in the process of teacher performance
evaluationrequires obtaining their trust,participation, senseof ownership and willingnessto
cooperate (Danielson and McGreal, 2000;Avalos and Assael, 2006;Flores, 2010). However,
relatively few studies have been undertaken to probe how teachers themselves perceive the
evaluation process (examples of exceptions include Peterson and Comeaux, 1990;Flores,
Teacher evaluation
The beginnings of formal supervisionof secular education date to the late 1700s (Cubberley,
1922, p. 286), but the notion of evaluating the work of in-service teachers (also known as
teacher appraisal) only took root some two centuries later, beginningto spread throughout
the world from about the mid-1980s (Darling-Hammondand Berry, 1988).
The authors thank the Israeli Ministry of Education for enabling the research to take place.
Received26 January 2018
Revised31 March 2018
Accepted30 May 2018
QualityAssurance in Education
Vol.26 No. 4, 2018
pp. 511-527
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/QAE-01-2018-0009
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) denes teacher
appraisal and feedback as a review of a teachers work by the school principal, an external
inspector, or the teachers colleagues (OECD,2014a, 2014b). Formal appraisal is conducted
in a systematic, methodical and structured manner that strives for objectivity. The OECD
denes formal appraisalas being part of a formalized performance-management system and
as often involving set procedures and criteria. By contrast, informal appraisal is generally
more subjective and proceeds through unstructured or loosely structured discussions
between the evaluator and teacher(OECD,2014a, 2014b).
The international trend is toward increased use of teacher appraisal, and consequently
there is much international interest in the optimal methods for performing it
(Montgomery, 2012;Delvaux et al., 2013;Culp, 2017). This interest is based on the
assumption that the information gathered about teachers and their performance can feed
into decision-making processes that will improve teaching and its outcomes for students
(Darling-Hammond, 2010;OECD,2014a, 2014b), that is, for quality assurance purposes,
with this overarching goal sometimes formulated explicitly (Chi-kin Lee et al., 2008).
Indeed, there is evidence that well-designed methods can achieve this goal (Taylor and
Tyler, 2012;Taut et al., 2016).
Not only does teacher evaluation vary internationally by type (formal versus informal),
but the reasons for undertaking it also vary greatly from country to country. Formative
evaluations are carried out to form the educational effort by helping teachers to improve
their performance (Strike and Millman, 1983). Thus, formative assessment aims to support
teaching and learning in classrooms (Gordon et al.,2014). By contrast, summative
evaluations provide a summary of outcomesfor administrative purposes, such as reporting
to stakeholders or decidingto promote or re a teacher (Strike and Millman, 1983). Although
there are countries (such as Taiwan) in which summative evaluation is entirely unknown
(Pan, 2014), summative evaluation is more common than formative evaluation among
teachers surveyed in the OECDs Teaching And Learning International Survey (TALIS) of
34 countries and economies in 2013. Consistently with this nding, nearly half of TALIS
teachers reported that teacher appraisal and feedback systems in their school full largely
administrative requirementsand, in most countries, formal teacher appraisal does not have
a teacher developmentalfocus (OECD,2014a, 2014b).
Teacher evaluation in Israel
The Ofek Chadash (New Horizon) reform was implemented in Israel during the 2007/
2008 school year as a national program to advance education in Israel in elementary
and junior high (i.e. lower-secondary) schools. Prior to the implementation of this
reform, teachers were appraised by their principal and the district superintendent
solely for the purpose of obtaining tenure. Following the reforms, the tenure-related
evaluations continued and additional teacher evaluations were instituted for
professional advancement from the senior rank of 7 to 8 and again for promotion from
rank 8 to 9 (where entry-level teachers have a rank of 1). These latter evaluations are
undertaken by the teachers principal alone and have direct consequences for the
teachers salary (the higher the rank, the higher the salary). Thus, all teacher
evaluations under Ofek Chadash are formal and they take place at specic career
junctures, rather than on an ongoing basis throughout the school year.
To standardize and guide assessors in their efforts to implement the teacher evaluation
process, in 2009, the National Authority for Measurement and Evaluation in Education
(RAMAH) built a teacher evaluation tool in cooperationwith the Ministry of Education and
researchers, with extensive input from focus groups with supervisors, principals, and

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