This CDE publication is the third in a series on the lessons for South Africa from international and local research on teacher evaluation as a means of improving teacher effectiveness. The first CDE publication in 2012 examined the international experience of teacher pay for performance initiatives and found that there was no consistent evidence that they improved learning outcomes.
Accordingly, in 2014, CDE decided to investigate teacher evaluation more broadly across a wide range of countries to explore the connection between teacher evaluation, teacher effectiveness, and student achievement. The key finding was that well-designed performance-based assessments, which assess on-the-job teaching based on multiple measures of teaching practice and student learning, can measure teacher effectiveness. An integrated teacher evaluation model which combines these assessments with productive feedback and professional learning opportunities can increase teacher effectiveness and student achievement (see CDE’s 2015 report, Teacher Evaluation: Lessons from other countries).
This report, the final in the series, examines teacher evaluation policy in South Africa and looks for best practice, using the international findings as a reference point. From interview research we present key stakeholders’ perspectives on the evolving policy framework and how school leadership in a small sample of public and independent schools experience teacher appraisal and professional development.
CDE’s analysis reveals that the current policy is deeply flawed, resulting in very limited implementation in those public schools interviewed. We identify some examples of best practice in the sample of innovative and well-resourced independent schools. These findings and CDE’s international research raise fundamental questions about the new performance-based teacher appraisal policy (the Quality Management System, or QMS) that is in the wings, as well as the new system for managing professional development. Are they good enough to significantly improve teacher effectiveness and learning achievement?