How Should Teachers Conduct a Principal Evaluation?

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Question: How Should Teachers Conduct a Principal Evaluation?

Many states require teachers to be apart of a principal evaluation system. This can be a challenging task for teachers who have limited interactions with their building principal(s). This lack of interaction is common especially in larger districts. This limited interaction can make it difficult to give an accurate and honest evaluation.

Despite these limitations several states, including Arkansas, require teachers to evaluate their principal(s). In Arkansas this is done by an anonymous survey. The survey can be difficult to complete unless you shadow the principal for several days or just give your best guess effort in completing it. The first is simply not feasible for every teacher to do and the latter is not taking it serious enough.

A principal’s evaluation should be taken seriously. The principal is the instructional leader in the building. They should be held accountable for their actions and accurate feedback from their staff could encourage them to make changes that could be beneficial to both teachers and students.

How should teachers conduct a principal evaluation when their interactions are limited? Giving an accurate evaluation should begin with self reflection and proceed with some investigation. It would be easier to give them proficient marks across the board, but if you want to be honest it is going to take some time to accurately evaluate them.


Understand the Evaluation Instrument

Make sure you completely understand the evaluation instrument before you begin to try to gather information about your principal to complete the evaluation. Look at the broad categories first and then the sub-categories. It is also important that you understand the rating system itself.

Make sure that you understand what the instrument is asking for, seeking clarification where necessary.

It may also be beneficial to keep notes about things that you learn as you self reflect and evaluate. Tie these notes to the appropriate categories and sub-categories. As you study the instrument try not to assign an initial rating score before you conduct your in-depth reflection and investigation. You do not want to create a subconscious bias that will harm the validity of the evaluation.

Reflect on Personal Interaction with the Principal

Your personal experience with the principal will play the most important role in completing the evaluation. These experiences can be both direct and indirect. Even in a large school you have probably had more interactions with them than you realize. You’ve likely heard them in faculty meetings, dealt with them in discipline issues, watched them interact with students and other teachers, and had them observe and evaluate you. Each of these situations plays an important role in effectively evaluating your principal. Use those experiences as the foundation for your evaluation then you can fill in the gaps of the remainder of the evaluation through other methods.

Look at the Whole Picture

The state of the building speaks volumes to the overall effectiveness of a principal. This is especially true for an established principal. The longer a principal has been there the more this rings true. Think about your building as a whole and ask yourself the following questions. If the majority of your answers are positive, then it is likely that your principal is doing a good job.

  • What is the overall atmosphere and structure of the school? Is there mutual respect amongst all constituents?
  • Do we have an implemented vision and mission that everyone is trying to achieve?
  • Are there an extraordinary amount of student discipline issues? Are those issues dealt with effectively?
  • Are the majority of the teachers you work with doing an effective job?
  • How are the standardized test scores for your building when compared to others in the same grade?

    Gain Perspective from Your Peers

    Many teachers work in teams or have a hand full of co-workers in which they seek advice. Don’t be afraid to ask other teachers for input concerning the evaluation. The chances are that they have many of the same questions themselves. It is okay to have a healthy conversation about your principal’s performance. However, it is important that these conversations do not turn into a principal bashing session. If you do work in a team concept where you have set meetings, dedicate one entire meeting to the topic of the evaluation.

    Solicit Feedback from Parents/Students

    You interact with parents and students on a daily basis. Use these interactions to gather more information. It is okay to ask them questions associated with the evaluation. They can often provide you with a different perspective. Be sure to explain that you are just trying to gather information to give an accurate evaluation. Ensure them that any information they give you will not be shared with the principal and that the evaluation is anonymous. It is also important that you direct the conversation to include topics only in the evaluation such as school safety, the overall learning environment, student success, etc.

    Ask the Principal

    What should you do if you still have some gaps in your evaluation after completing your investigation? Request a meeting to discuss the evaluation with the principal. Your principal will likely respect the fact that you are taking it seriously. They will also be grateful that you have come to them to gain insight about what they do and to clear up any concerns or misconceptions that you may have.

    Do not be afraid to ask them direct questions, but keep it to the topic of the evaluation. If your interactions are limited with the principal, this could also help jump start a more interactive relationship with them.

    Tie Everything Together

    The final thing is to take all the information you have collected and complete the evaluation. If you have done all the things discussed above you will have more than enough information to score the evaluation accurately. Review your notes, take the evaluation sub-category at a time, and be honest. Score them low in areas where you believe they need to improve and high in areas in which they excel. Finally, make yourself a copy of the evaluation and put them with your notes. They could come in handy next year when you have to evaluate them again.

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    Your Citation
    Meador, Derrick. "How Should Teachers Conduct a Principal Evaluation?" ThoughtCo, Aug. 22, 2016, Meador, Derrick. (2016, August 22). How Should Teachers Conduct a Principal Evaluation? Retrieved from Meador, Derrick. "How Should Teachers Conduct a Principal Evaluation?" ThoughtCo. (accessed December 14, 2017).