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

Reviewing the impact of changes: What to think about

Appraisal is about ensuring accountability and improvement for individual teachers and for whole school communities.

Key messages

  • Inquiry needs to be embedded and ongoing.
  • Teachers and school leaders should be responsive to what it tells them.

Teacher appraisal

In Teacher appraisal: Missed opportunities for learning author Claire Sinnema explains that in traditional appraisal cycles, changes in teacher knowledge and practice have tended to be monitored on an annual basis and without connection to inquiry into how the changes affect student outcomes.

Necessary teaching improvements identified through Teacher Inquiry often contribute to a teacher's appraisal goals (Supporting school improvement through effective teacher appraisal). 

Teachers’ goals should be reviewed often, preferably every four weeks and at least each term.

School evaluation and teacher appraisal

School evaluation should include the appraisal process itself and the design of the professional learning experiences that are intended to support teachers achieve their goals.

Evaluation needs to include looking for the unexpected, for example, noticing that teachers are forgetting to implement their previous learning because their focus is on a new professional learning goal.

Effective school evaluation: how to do and use internal evaluation for improvement describes three types of evaluation:

  1. Strategic evaluation – long term and focused on key goals related to the school’s vision.
  2. Regular evaluation – smaller, focused, and ongoing, feeding regular data into the strategic evaluation; “business as usual” 
  3. Emergent evaluation – one-off spontaneous evaluations but should fit with overall goals and link to other reviews; they occur in response to unplanned events or issues as they arise.

School practices associated with effective appraisal

Dimensions of appraisal 

Foundation factors – 

necessary but not sufficient 

Factors that make a difference

A school culture focused on improvement 

Collaborative practices 

Principals have high expectations for all students and all teachers.

The analysis of teacher practice is included discussions about the impact on learning and achievement of all students.

Coherence across school self-review practices 

  • Alignment of charter goals, teacher professional learning and development (PLD), and student targets,
  • A range of evidence is used in discussion about practice 

Leaders know how to embed appraisal into an improvement focused, self-review system.

Teacher goals are the connection between student targets and teacher PLD.

Leaders have a deep understanding of self-review processes such as evaluation and Teaching as Inquiry.

Guidance in policy and procedures 

Guidance in appraisal policy and documentation 

Guidance in appraisal policy and documentation includes details about using a range of data, setting goals, and using Tātaiako.

Organisational support for appraisal

Organisational support such as: 

  • training for appraisers
  • someone with responsibility for the quality and completion of tasks across the school
  • time
  • templates for particular tasks

Leaders understand the organisational support needed to implement robust appraisal across the school.

Timely, high quality feedback is a feature of the process.

School systems ensure every teacher’s appraisal focuses on improved practice.

Education Review Office. (2014). Supporting school improvement through effective teacher appraisal p.10

Building professional capability

Building professional capability improves outcomes for all students. 

Schools, and the agencies that support them, need to focus on improvement as well.

Effective appraisal should be experienced as a component within a self-review framework that focuses on improving achievement for all students in the school.

Supporting school improvement through effective teacher appraisal found a strong relationship between the rigour of teacher attestation and registration, and the quality of the appraisal process. 

High quality teacher appraisal implemented as part of the planning and reporting cycle, should be linked to the: 

  • goals of the strategic plan 
  • annual plan
  • principal’s performance management system
  • decisions about teacher professional learning and development (PLD).

Reflective questions

  • What happened for us and our students (intentionally and unintentionally)? 
    • Why?
  • What aspects of this appraisal cycle worked well? 
    • What didn’t go well?
  • Where to next?


Sinnema, C. (2005). Teacher Appraisal: Missed Opportunities for Learning. Thesis (EdD), University of Auckland 

Education Review Office. (2014). Supporting school improvement through effective teacher appraisal  

Education Review Office. (2015). Effective school evaluation: how to do and use internal evaluation for improvement

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