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CTE Teacher Evaluation: One Size Does Not Fit All
26 Feb 2014
by Jane Coggshall

One size does not fit all when it comes to Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher evaluation.

CTE teachers instruct in a number of fields (from health sciences and engineering to design and culinary services)  and in a wide variety of settings (from typical middle or high school classrooms, to special in-school labs, to full technical high schools). Almost all states require that certified teachers, including CTE teachers, be included in evaluation systems. A dozen have state-level, CTE-specific evaluation policies or recommendations.



But measuring how CTE students are progressing for those teacher evaluations poses challenges. Standardized tests usually only provide information for teachers in grades 4 through 8, or for math or English Language Arts teachers.  CTE teachers, like the majority of teachers, cannot use standardized tests to assess their students’ progress or growth. For CTE, student growth may be better assessed through growth on course-specific assessments, demonstrations of skill, and industry certification attainment.

Questions to consider when evaluating CTE teachers:  How well do general teacher evaluation frameworks work with CTE teachers and the often hands-on instruction they provide? What supplements or modifications of evaluator training or observation tools might be needed? Including CTE educators as collaborators in evaluation design and modification is vital to ensuring that these teachers receive relevant, accurate feedback for their own growth.

For an overview of the national policy landscape and guidance for creating aligned talent development policies, see  21st Century Educators: Developing and Supporting Great Career and Technical Education Teachersa special issues brief from the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center) at the American Institutes for Research.

To learn how states are tailoring teacher effectiveness policies to better meet CTE teacher needs, register for the GTL Center’s Friday, March 7 webinar: Supporting 21st Century Educators: How States are Promoting Career and Technical Educator Effectiveness. State agency staff from Oklahoma, New Jersey, and Missouri will present examples of practical, real-life policy efforts on induction programs and student learning objective approaches for CTE teachers.

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