News & Research

How should Teacher Performance for the Academic Year be Judged?

Published: 15 June 2015, South China Morning Post — The exam season is finally over and my students have been evaluated internally by me and externally via different exam boards. My school administrators are now busy ending the academic year evaluating my performance along with that of my colleagues. So how should teacher performance for the academic year be judged?

Research shows a strong correlation between teacher effectiveness and student achievement. And I am extremely proud of the excellent results my students get both at the IGCSE and IB examinations simply because I invest a lot of effort in preparing them well for these external examinations.

However, there is a small voice in my head that refuses to be silenced. Several of my students undertake private or group tutorial sessions in biology after school. That makes me question whether their exam achievement is a reflection of my performance, or their tutors, or, perhaps, it is a joint effort? And indeed, if I was an effective educator why would my students feel the need to take tuition in the first place?
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Comparison of Academic Achievement in Virginia with Leading Industrialized Nations

Funded by Virginia Commission on Youth, this project included a comprehensive literature review of selected countries (i.e., Finland, Canada, Singapore, South Korea, and the prefecture of Shanghai in China) whose students consistently rank high on international assessments and compared the performance in those countries with students in the United States, focusing on what we know about students in Virginia. The review identified attributes that explain the positive educational outcomes in the selected countries. Some of the major attributes that were explored included teacher quality, principal quality, achievement gap, educational reform policies, and K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. Policies and practices that could be adopted in Virginia were identified for further study and determination of feasibility.

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A Cross-Cultural Comparative Study of Teacher Effectiveness: Analyses of Award-Winning Teachers

The purpose of this research project was to develop a richer understanding of teacher effectiveness through cross-cultural analyses of the practices and beliefs of selected Chinese and U.S. teachers who have received national awards for their teaching. The research team used semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, and artifacts for data generation/collection. This study revealed that both Chinese and U.S. teachers: 1) used a variety of instructional activities which spanned across different cognitive levels; 2) were opportunistic planners; 3) maintained a challenging but supportive learning environment; etc. Primary differences were found in the areas of instructional planning, assessment, classroom management, relationships with students and parents, and professional development.

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