PLAISTOW — Students in the Timberlane district are sounding off on how their teachers are performing.
The district is one of the only ones in the state to take part in the Tripod Survey, which asks students to measure their teachers in what is known in the education world as the seven Cs — care, control, clarify, challenge, captivate, confer and consolidation.
Although the results from those surveys are not used in the individual teacher evaluations, district Director of Professional Learning Debra Armfield said the results are valuable to create action plans for the schools as well as the teachers and to provide increased opportunities for professional development.
Timberlane came to the Tripod Survey after some staff members attended a professional development conference where someone from Harvard spoke about the survey and the benefits of teacher evaluation by students, said Armfield.
“He said there was a great deal of research that shows teachers generally change only so much from observation and evaluation and it does not in general have as much of an impact as we’d like,” said Armfield. “But over the course of a decade, there was a tremendous body of research around how teachers respond when they had feedback from students.”
Teachers and parents were informed about the district’s plans to conduct the survey in the fall and the students were surveyed in the winter.
The results of the survey showed that overall, Timberlane teachers ranked above average in most of the 7 C categories compared to teachers evaluated across the country.
Armfield said the district is using the data from the evaluations to help establish goal-setting for the teachers, to help create school and district action plans, and for increased professional development opportunities. She said the district plans on administering the evaluations in future years.
School Board member Robert Collins said the evaluations are something he has been interested in for several years.
“I am very supportive of this and I think it is a tremendous move forward for us,” he said.