TEACHER EVALUATION POLICY FOR SCHOOLS: THE NEED FOR TIME AND CRITICAL RESOURCES
In the world of quality, performance, and competition, evaluation is the inevitable method to determine the worth and efficiency of a person, service, or product. High performance and high quality are expected in order to remain employable, sustainable, or profitable. In the world of teaching, teacher evaluation is a significant means for ensuring high teacher performance, effectiveness, and professionalism, apart from public accountability and quality of education. This rationalism has led to the current emphasis in teacher evaluation policy in Oman, a developing country in the Middle East. What is the sentiment? How do education officers, principals, and teachers react to this new policy execution? We conducted a study in order to find out the sentiment among educators and the dynamics involved.
Using the qualitative approach, we interviewed policy makers and evaluators and teachers in eight provinces of Oman. The policy has the rationalism mentioned before, but we believed at the outset that top-down policy implementation approach would be problematic because of many factors, especially regarding teachers’ acceptance and their understanding of the policy goals. Using thematic analysis, data was coded and categorized using the NVivo program.
From the study, we found that teachers and supervisors from diverse cultural tribes believed in the soundness of the policy goals and values, but they needed time to sort out the mechanics and resources in carrying out teacher evaluation earnestly. Some of the obstacles found were: lack of incentives; inadequate evaluators’ training; heavy burden of administrative duties, less empowerment; lack of teachers and evaluators’ commitment toward teacher evaluation system. These organizational and technical factors inhibited the performance of teachers and evaluators alike. The implication here is that policy makers and education authorities expect that any policy must produce the desired outcomes, but the implementers at the school level need time to understand policy goals, policy benefits, implementation mechanics, and the action plan. Disregard of their need for time and other resources could slow down the implementation, or could result in failure of a policy. The study recommends that teachers and evaluators must be given assistance in so many ways so that they can understand and focus on the evaluation process and outcomes, not only for their own professional development, but for improving the quality of education in general.