How New Teachers Can Use Evaluation Feedback to Improve

Teacher Evaluation Feedback

Melinda, an English teacher in her second year, requires more student reflection, according to the guidance that her vice principal gave in a recent evaluation. Melinda was recommended by her vice principal to have students reflect upon their learning and identify their learning goals and areas for growth.

Melinda confessed to Melinda in our mentoring session one week later that she didn’t know how to do it. Do I ask them to simply write down a goal or a growth area in their journal? What if they are unable to identify their growth areas and goals? What should I do then? How can I effectively monitor the learning goals and growth areas of over 100 students?

Many novice teachers find it difficult to incorporate feedback from evaluators into their teaching practice. School administrators might make suggestions, but not provide specific guidance, tools, or resources for novice teachers to plan and implement improvements in their teaching practice.

This is something I have seen too many times as a mentor for novice teachers. The experienced teacher evaluator will suggest improvement but may overlook the fact that the novice teacher might not know how to put it into practice.

How can a novice teacher clarify feedback from evaluators? How can you pinpoint areas of improvement in your teaching and learning? You will first need to create a data-driven plan and then analyze the data and reflect on it to improve your teaching.


Work with a colleague. A mentor or colleague can review your evaluation feedback and help you to understand the concepts or topics in it. These questions can help you gain clarity while you are considering the perspective of your evaluator:

  • What evidence from the evaluation feedback supports the growth recommendations?
  • What was the suggested strategy or course? What resources and information are available to assist you in implementing this strategy in your class?
  • What other strategies or actions could you take to close this gap and improve your teaching in this area?

Consider other potential growth areas. Review the data you have about the growth area that your evaluator identified. It’s important to remember, however, that the person they are evaluating may not see you teaching every day, every week, or every month. Therefore, what they see is a snapshot of your classroom. While it may be accurate, it doesn’t show your entire teaching experience.

Consider the feedback of your evaluator and ask yourself questions to help you examine your teaching practices to identify growth areas.

  • What evidence does my evaluator use? Are they referring to one class or a pattern of teaching in all my classes?
  • What other evidence (teaching videos or student work) do I have? I would appreciate any additional evidence that could help me do a more thorough review.
  • What other data do I need? What could the data look like (teaching videos and student work, etc.) )?
  • What are the factors that might influence my teaching and learning gaps
  • Which resources are available to me to improve and refine my teaching in this area?

Analyze your data. Choose an appropriate analysis tool. If your teaching growth area includes formative assessments to assess student understanding, you might collect student work samples and use an analysis of student work tools, which was developed by the Michigan Department of Education.

Video recording of a class session can help you gather data and analyze it. You can review the footage to identify areas that need improvement. The Harvard Teacher Video Selfie can be used to analyze your teaching videos. The Evidence Analysis Report from the Hawaii Lab Cohort can help you identify and describe data patterns, and outline your next steps in supporting your students’ learning.

Think about and improve your teaching practices. Take some time to reflect. What lessons did you take away from the analysis of the data? What next steps can you take to improve your growth area?