Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Music Teacher Evaluation from the Administrators' Perspective


Music & Dance


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Arts and Humanities


The purpose of this session is to provide insight into the challenges faced by administrators when evaluating music teachers. Presenters will share information to clarify what the teacher evaluation process looks like from the administrative perspective. Additionally, the presenters will provide recommendations for the types of resources and information administrators would find most useful in facilitating music teacher evaluation. Teacher evaluation has been a source of much discussion and uncertainty for music educators. Shifts in educational practice toward more standardization of curriculum and high stakes assessment have many music teachers concerned about the types of student data and teacher practices that will be used to inform teacher evaluations in their schools. Administrators face a similar challenge as they must adapt to shifting state guidelines for the implementation of teacher evaluations. They may be called upon to use new evaluative frameworks and examine new sources of data on student outcomes. Teacher evaluation is a time intensive task for administrators, and learning the nuances of new evaluation models must be balanced with clarifying those changes in teacher evaluation to their teaching staff. Additionally, it takes time to justify a satisfactory rating for teachers as administrators must look at multiple sources of information to make their evaluation including; formative observational assessments of classes, student achievement data, and data about the school performance generated at the state level. Administrators must also look beyond the individual classroom practice to also examine how the teacher contributes to the schools success as a whole. Administrators and music teachers alike must ask: what is the value of the music program to the schools success in addition to the aesthetics of the discipline? One of the biggest challenges administrators face is seeking the best ways to gather evidence of successful teaching in a large variety of classroom contexts. Because music is a performing art, the nature of music teaching differs in some aspects from standard classroom teaching practices in both implementation of instruction and in the nature student outcomes. For example, non-verbal and musical prompts and responses during rehearsals may not be obvious indicators of successful instructional interactions to an administrator who is looking for more traditional or overt evidence of effective teaching. Due to these differences, administrators sometimes encounter difficulties interpreting how the practices of their music teachers fit the teacher evaluation standards implemented by their school districts. Clarifying the subtleties of effective music teaching practice may help to illumine how an administrator can evaluate a music teacher within the evaluation framework they are required to use. Administrators must also examine the music curriculum to determine how well it is aligned with state and national standards, and they will seek assessment driven evidence of student achievement on standards mentioned in the curriculum. Open communication will help to clarify expectations for teacher evaluation and expected student outcomes for both administrators and music teachers. Ultimately, administrators are invested in creating a positive and successful learning environment for their students a goal they share will all of their teachers. Although the teacher evaluation process is time consuming, the data gathered are intended to support successful teaching practices and help prompt change where it is needed. As such, teacher evaluation need not be an adversarial practice, but rather a partnership among educators invested in student success.

Conference Name

2014 Music Research and Teacher Education Conference

Conference Location

St. Louis, MO

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