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Running head: CASE STUDY: EVALUATIONS BY STUDENTS 1

Emily Herrmann
EDU 360
Case Study 1
CASE STUDY: EVALUATIONS BY STUDENTS 2

Case study 1, School District Proposes Evaluations by Students, discusses a school

district that is voting on the idea that the junior high students will participate in the evaluation

process of their teachers. All of the principals in the district were asked to anonymously

participate in a three-part survey. This survey asked for the advantages and disadvantages of the

students evaluating their teachers and finally a plan of how these evaluations could be

implemented. There were two unsigned letters submitted with the surveys. One letter was from

a student and the second was from a teacher. The student stated that since they are receiving the

education from the teacher, they have a right to have their opinions in the evaluations. On the

other hand, the teachers letter stated the opposite. The teacher believed that the students did not

have the maturity to provide accurate feedback. It said that it would change the philosophy and

teaching styles of some of the teachers as well. The teacher who wrote the letter believed that

the teachers would strike if the students’ evaluations became a part of the evaluation process.

Should junior high students be involved in the evaluation of their teachers? Why? Why

not?

Junior high students should have a role in evaluating their teachers. Students at this age

are starting to think more critically which they need in order to evaluate their teachers. At this

age they start to have serious opinions on their teachers. Usually, at this age, they have concrete

reasons as to why or why not they like a teacher. However, because every student develops at a

different rate, not all students are developed enough to give an accurate evaluation for the

teacher. For this reason, students at this age should not have a large role in evaluating their

teachers. They should have a chance to answer a few questions about their teacher and explain

their reasons for their answer. Even if a school chooses not to necessarily use it for evaluation
CASE STUDY: EVALUATIONS BY STUDENTS 3

purposes, it can be helpful feedback for the teachers to be able to further improve their teaching

methods.

If you were an assistant superintendent for instruction, how would you handle this

situation?

In this situation, I would schedule meetings individually or as groups, with teachers from

each school district. I would start each meeting with teachers explaining their concerns for this

policy change. After hearing what they had to say, I would explain that although the students

would have a role in evaluation, they would not be the primary evaluator. I would explain that

the students role would be more used to provide feedback for each teacher. The teachers would

be able to use the feedback to improve their teaching or not. I would also explain that by having

the students evaluate the teacher, the teacher may be able to learn more about specific students

and how each student learns. The goal of these meetings would be to understand more why the

teachers do not agree with this policy change but also help the teachers understand specifically

how this could help them.

What other approaches might have been used to elicit feedback from the teachers, parents,

and students concerning the proposed policy change to the teacher evaluation process?

Before the feedback process started, the superintendent could have sent a letter to every

teacher and home with every student for their parents explaining what is going to happen. The

letter could give teachers, students, and parents an opportunity to do a couple things. The letter

could have the superintendents or the assistant superintendents email. This would give everyone

an opportunity to email them and ask them for more information or they would be able to explain
CASE STUDY: EVALUATIONS BY STUDENTS 4

their concerns. The letter could also have different meeting times written out for each school

district. The superintendent would be present at these meetings. These meetings would give

people the opportunity to physically go and talk to the superintendent about the situation and

would also give the superintendent a time to explain why they would like to change this policy

and how it would work. Finally, the letter could give the parents or teachers an opportunity to

call and set up a meeting with the superintendent if they thought their concerns were more

serious. By providing these different ways for people to reach out and share their concerns, they

will feel like that have more of a say as to what happens within their school. Throughout this

process, the superintendent is also providing effective communication between him/her and the

teachers, students, and parents.

In what ways might students’ evaluations of teachers affect their instruction or your own

instruction?

Student evaluations of their teachers may change how the teachers conduct their lessons.

Taking into consideration that the students will be reviewing the teacher, the lessons may be

more engaging and fun for the students. The teacher may take more time to learn about each

student and use differentiated instruction to make sure each student’s needs are being met to

ensure that the students will give a good review. The lessons might be more fun and interesting

for the students and include the student’s interests. There may be more hands-on activities or

creativity included as well. Although all of this should be included in lessons without student

reviews, it may increase the number of teachers who teach using this type of instruction. A

negative change in teacher instruction may be that the teachers will try to please all of the

students and reduce some of the discipline in place to keep good classroom management.
CASE STUDY: EVALUATIONS BY STUDENTS 5

What evidence does research provide about the ability of junior high students to evaluate

their teachers?

According to George and Alexander (2003), junior high students’ developmental level is

varied. This is the time where the students are in the in between phase where they are no longer

children but not yet adults. The students will all develop and move through this phase at

different rates and extremes. The transition may be smooth for some or extremely difficult and

stressful for others. The students at the junior high level are gaining the skills to make complex

decisions and conduct critical thinking needed for evaluating their teachers. This is also a time

when the students are maturing emotionally and morally as well. This would also affect how the

student would evaluate their teacher. Although the growth is there, it may not be fully developed

for all students. Some students may have more ability to clearly evaluate their teacher than other

students based on the developmental level. This can cause variations in the evaluations of the

teacher.

How might teachers and parents in your school district react to this proposal policy change

in teacher evaluation procedures?

The teachers will most likely not agree with the implementation of student evaluation.

The students may just evaluate the teacher based on how fun the class is or if they like the

teacher or not. According to John Mooney (2013), students do not have a full understanding of

pedagogy, therefore, they would not be able to provide a good representation of how well the

teacher is actually teaching. The teachers can still benefit from students reviews if they do not

affect their evaluations. Most of the time teachers enjoy hearing opinions from their students to
CASE STUDY: EVALUATIONS BY STUDENTS 6

make improvements. This can incorporate students’ evaluations without affecting the teachers’

jobs. Parents may have varied opinions on their children evaluating their teachers. Some parents

may like the idea of their children having a say in their education and that it may improve the

education for their children. On the other hand, some parents might agree that the students to not

have the deep understanding of pedagogy to evaluate the teacher’s performance on that level.

All parents would agree that the students’ opinions are important in creating the lessons and the

way they are taught, but they might not have the full development to deeply evaluate the

teacher’s pedagogy.
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References

George, P., & Alexander, W. (2003). The exemplary middle school (3rd ed., pp. 1-30). Belmont,

CA: Wadsworth/Thomason Learning.

Mooney, J. (2013). Should students grade their teachers?. In The Hechinger Report. Retrieved

from http://hechingerreport.org/should-students-grade-their-teachers/

Hilliard, A. T., & Newsome, E. J. (2013). Effective Communication and Creating Professional

Learning Communities Is a Valuable Practice for Superintendents. Contemporary Issues

In Education Research, 6(4), 353-364.