The Importance of Linking Teacher Evaluation to Teacher Hiring


A recent blog by Laurie Walters proposes that the Los Angeles Unified School District change the way it hires teachers. One of Walter’s proposals calls for schools to develop rubrics based on “school goals, culture and mission” for rating applicants during the hiring process.

Taking a systematic approach towards hiring, including developing a rubric that is informed by best practices and aligned to school and district goals, has the potential to alleviate many problems in the teacher hiring process, such as inconsistent hiring practices, unclear guidelines for hiring teams, and inflexible processes. Researchers have raised the alarm on the ineffectiveness of common hiring practices and tools for teachers. However, there is evidence that more effective practices may be available and this research is ongoing. Most importantly, hiring practices need be linked to an overall education improvement strategy enacted by the district and every individual school. How would this work?

Define What Makes a Teacher Successful in a School
As states and districts develop their education improvement strategies and teacher evaluation systems, many schools and districts are adopting multiple performance-based measures to determine teaching quality. These measures give teachers information about what good quality teaching looks like and what they need to do to be successful, so it is important for schools to align their hiring processes to those standards.

Using Rubrics for Consistency across Teacher Hiring, Induction, Professional Development, and Performance Management
Unfortunately, few schools have adopted standards for their human resources processes. Many schools are only starting to provide professional development around these new observation standards and protocols, including how to rate teachers on a rubric. Few of these schools have adopted the rubrics in other areas of teacher development such as the teacher induction process. And even fewer have considered hiring teachers based on the rubrics.

What would it look like if a school adopted a rubric for hiring? Both hiring committees and teacher applicants would have to participate more in the hiring process. Hiring committees most likely would have to add new measures to determine teaching quality, such as making applicants do a sample lesson or having applicants provide a portfolio of their work. Hiring committee members would use this additional information to score teachers on a rubric and discuss the applicant’s ability to be a successful teacher in that school, as defined by the observation rubric, before they hire the teacher.

Consistency in Hiring Reduces Time, Costs, and Turnover
Knowing if a teacher has the ability to be successful in a school before hiring them reaps many benefits for schools and applicants. For schools, if they hire more teachers who are likely to be successful based on their own definition, they are more likely to save time and money on induction and professional development. They may also see a higher return on investment in those activities because teachers would already come into the school with some of the qualities of a successful teacher.

For applicants, the more successful they are in a school, they may be more likely to want to continuing teaching at their school, and possibly, the more likely they are to be retained. This leads to less teacher turnover and can increase teacher morale in the school since teachers will know they were hired because they already demonstrated competency in quality teaching.

As schools continue to adopt rubrics for teacher evaluations, schools should consider adapting the rubrics to other human resources processes in their school such as teacher hiring. Research on what happens in these schools can shed light on what benefits schools and districts accrue from consistency in defining quality teaching and how that benefits students and teaching quality in their classrooms.