People Analytics in Education: Teacher Performance Assessment

Tosca Killoran (EdD)
13 min readJul 15, 2021

As educational leaders we can make better choices when hiring, creating collaborative teams, managing talent, and assessing teacher performance. Innovative companies and leaders now make decisions about their employees based on people analytics rather than the traditional methods based solely on personal relationships, subjective experiences or products and outcomes.

Over the last 20+ years that I have worked within schools I have yet to participate in, or administer, an effective form of teacher performance evaluation. Early on in my career reviews of my practice were parsed from narrative observations Principals made of lessons I had preplanned. I spent hours planning and prepping for these learning engagements and in reality they were not representative of the average of my teaching practice and learning environment. The Principal’s observations were followed up with paltry suggestions for improvement that denoted a clear disconnect from my actual prowess and what the Principal knew of my skills. Alternatively one school utilized observational walkthroughs with the focus on three minutes of my practice being observed and informally assessed. This drive-by method of gaining understanding of my teaching and learning only ever happened once or twice in a year and thus became an anorexic view of my skill rather than a robust assessment of my practice.

When I became a Principal I reflected on the practice of teacher evaluation that I had encountered over my career. Philosophically, I believe that the purpose of teaching is learning. In order to grow pedagogically I assumed teachers must examine the evidence provided within student learning. I designed a modified version of an assessment index which amalgamated the aspects of evaluation I had encountered in my past. This document 1) identified where students were at in their learning within four domains, and 2) provided clear examples within each phase for advancing learners and subsequently teaching pedagogy and practice.

I then scheduled time with teachers for the following meetings:

  • Goal setting
  • Formal observation
  • Mid-point goal review
  • Principal coaching session
  • Observational walkthrough
Tosca Killoran (EdD)

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