Te aromihi pouako e puta ai ngā ihu o ngā ākonga Māori

Aligning appraisal with professional learning


Two reports published by the Education Review Office (ERO) in 2009 discuss the management of professional learning and development in 317 primary schools and 44 secondary schools. Using indicators based largely on the Teacher Professional Learning and Development BES (Timperley, Wilson, Barrar, and Fung, 2007), the reviewers rated the schools on their ability to develop and manage high-quality professional learning and development programmes. They found that the schools fell into three groups, as indicated in the table below.


Primary schools (%)

Secondary schools (%)

Group 1: High-quality programmes



Group 2: At least one significant area of weakness



Group 3: Poorly managed



Conversely, ERO found that in most of the schools, information from appraisal contributed relatively little to decisions about the school’s professional learning goals or to its planning for how to achieve those goals. For example:ERO’s analysis included looking at the degree to which appraisal was aligned with schools’ professional learning and development programmes. The reviewers found that in some of the Group 1 schools, important aspects of planning for professional learning were integrated with the appraisal process. This included ensuring that professional learning goals were aligned with school priorities and informed by evidence about teachers’ professional needs, which included information gained through teacher appraisal.

  • only four of the 44 secondary schools identified appraisal as one of the three most important factors influencing their school’s decisions about professional learning and development
  • out of a sample of 100 primary schools, just under half of the principals said they considered appraisal information when planning professional development.

Appraisal in these schools was more likely to be guided by the school’s strategic objectives for professional learning (with appraisers looking to see whether teachers were meeting school expectations to use particular teaching practices) rather than by teachers’ developmental goals as identified through appraisal.

In other schools, particularly those in Group 3, the appraisal process was not used to provide teachers with feedback on the degree to which they were meeting either their developmental goals or their school’s strategic objectives. In the report on secondary schools, ERO states:

For other schools, appraisals were less connected with their strategic objectives and developmental goal-setting, and more concerned with compliance with their personnel requirements, including attestation and registration. Evidence from schools indicated that appraisals were used to ensure that staff had reached a minimum standard of performance, and there was limited developmental scope to the comments given to the teachers being appraised.

page 38

Return to top