A formative evaluation model for online teachers.
Teachers are often frustrated with conventional evaluation practices normally used to establish their effectiveness, permanent status and promotion. Educators tend to take a dim view of evaluation because ultimately it is their teaching ability and expertise that is being scrutinized. In practice, however, ability and knowledge are often secondary to classroom management skills that are, or are not, exhibited during the evaluation process. Both summative and formative evaluations require time, observation, and competence of the examiner. Regrettably, the time taken to perform the evaluation is often rushed. Fairness demands that those teachers in need of more specific professional growth be given a chance before they are dismissed. There exists a multitude of literature dealing with the notion of teacher evaluation. To date, there is very little published research dealing specifically with the formative evaluation of web-based instruction. For teachers working in an online environment, the existing Rocky Mountain School District summative system is woefully deficient, as it does not consider the implications of asynchronous learning environments. The lack of an existing formative evaluation leaves teachers without an evaluation structure from which professional development can be obtained. Ignoring the uniqueness of teaching online while assuming that present systems are appropriate and transferable is unidirectional and educationally myopic. This study offers a formative evaluation model for use with adult educators who teach at a distance with web-based instruction. The model rose from the results of a literature review and a survey presented to adult educators using web-based instruction. The literature indicated, among other things, that an evaluation method utilized should be appropriate for a given situation. The survey determined that the present evaluation system was considered to be unsatisfactory and that the subjects would consider utilizing a formative evaluation model.