Nolan & Hoover Supervision and Evaluation of the Marginal Teacher

Nolan, J., & Hoover, L. A. (2005). Teacher supervision and evaluation: Theory into practice. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Chapter 11: Supervision and Evaluation of the Marginal Teacher

•    Marginal teacher defined: "Marginal teachers are those with experience and tenure who have been identified as questionably competent or less than satisfactory in one or more performance-based standards (p. 296)."
•    " the case of the marginal teacher, evaluation and supervision are closely intertwined. Because the competence of a veteran teacher is in question, evaluation takes center stage (p. 296)."
•    Because marginal teachers must improve in order to keep their jobs, supervision is included in the process of improvement, but evaluation is the primary focus.

Why are Marginal Teachers a Special Case in Supervisory Practice?
•    Marginal teachers are considered veteran teachers who must improve their teaching practices in order to meet the minimum standard of competency and retain their jobs.

The Paradoxical Process: Laying the Groundwork for Remediation or Dismissal
•    "...the documentation, as related to the standards, serves as evidence to support the decision and enables the marginal teacher to see the rationale for the rating (p. 300)."
•    "Dismissal is not the goal of the intensive assistance process. The goal is to remediate the deficiencies, to have the teacher return to a satisfactory level of performance, and eventually to enable the teacher to grow toward excellence through the supervision components of the supervision and evaluation system (p. 300)."
•    Districts have enormous economic investments in veteran teachers. As a result, the goal is to remediate the teacher not dismiss him or her. High but reasonable expectations from administrators can be powerful in influencing a teacher's performance.
•    Legal Considerations
    o    Incompetence has not been clearly defined. As a result, it has been defined mostly through court decisions.
    o    Teachers have due process rights. Those rights need to be clearly understood.
•    Beginning the Process: Initial Notification
    o    The marginal teacher receives both verbal and written communication regarding their receipt of an "unsatisfactory" rating.

Supervision of the Marginal Teacher: Intensive Assistance
•    During the intensive support phase, shared ownership does not exist in the supervision process. The supervisor must control the conferences and observation. S/he has a legal obligation to clearly articulate the problem areas and recommended solutions.
•    Conducting Preobservation and Postobservation Conferences
    o    Supervisors must model appropriate skills and behaviors to assist in the improvement process. The supervisor is more direct.
•    Assembling a Support Team and Developing an Intensive Assistance Plan
    o    The Support Team
        •    A support team is not essential but is recommended since it brings benefits to the process. A support team is made of an administrator, an assigned teacher, and a teacher of choice determined by the marginal teacher.
    o    The Intensive Assistance Plan
        •    "In setting timelines for improvement, a balance must be struck between the teacher's right to substantial time for remediation and the children's right to high-quality instruction (p. 308)."
•    Marginal teachers need support in order to improve. If observation of competent teachers is included, such observation needs to be structured and scaffolded to assist marginal teachers in identifying certain skills.

Evaluation of the Marginal Teacher
•    Roles and Data Sources
    o    The administrator who is responsible for the summative evaluation should not be a member of the support team.
•    Evaluation Standards
    o    Marginal teachers must receive a Level 1 in order to become satisfactory.
•    Evaluation Procedures
    o    Two different administrators each observe once a month and engage in post observation conferences, which they direct. No preobservation conferences exist.

When Remediation Does Not Work: Removing the Marginal Teacher
•    Responses to Continued Unsatisfactory Performance
    o    "Tolerating incompetence may be less stressful psychologically, but acceptance of a position that includes evaluating teacher performance implies acceptance of the responsibility for removing incompetent teachers (p. 315)."
    o    Districts have three options for dealing with marginal teachers who have not improved. They are tolerance and protection, inducement, and dismissal.
•    Crossing the Legal T's and Dotting the Legal I's
    o    "The documentation for dismissal takes two forms, documentation of deficiencies in performance and documentation of the procedural safeguarding of due process rights (p. 317)."