September 25, 2015 Print

Given the poor quality of teaching and learning achievement in most South African schools, improving them is national priority. Atlas Network partner the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) has raised major doubts, however, about South Africa’s new Quality Management System (QMS), which is in the wings awaiting implementation. The third in a series that explores the connection between teacher evaluation, teacher effectiveness, and student achievement, “Teacher Evaluation in South African Schools” questions whether QMS should be implemented because it is unlikely to produce greater teacher effectiveness or higher learner achievement.

“In CDE’s view South Africa cannot afford to implement another system of teacher performance appraisal that does not contain the essential elements for its success, or a professional development system that will be ineffective,” the report concludes. “Given the pressing need to improve teacher effectiveness and learning achievement, only systems that have the potential to make a real difference to teaching quality and learner achievement in the country should be designed and implemented. To that end, the development by accomplished educators of professional teaching practice standards that are shown to support learning gains and are agreed to by all key stakeholders is an essential first step.”

CDE provides an analysis of the evolving policy framework for teacher performance appraisal and professional development in South Africa, using international best practice as a reference point. From interview research, the perspectives of government, unions and other key stakeholders, as well as school leaders’ experience of the current Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) for performance appraisal and development, are also presented.

“Although the school sample was small and the results are not generalisable to either sector, rich illustrative insights were obtained from five relatively well-resourced public schools achieving good results and five well-resourced, high-quality independent schools”, explained CDE’s Education Programme Director, Dr Jane Hofmeyr.

In a study released earlier this month, “Teacher Evaluation: Lessons from Other Countries,” CDE examined the intended educational growth from the IMQS and awaited QMS. The research observes a common trend, that one-size-fits-all training is not effective in meeting a teacher’s development needs. It’s necessary for the evaluation and development stages to align on an individual basis so that educators will have a better track record of achieving higher education results for their students.

For 20 years the CDE has researched and advocated for market-based solutions in education reform, jobs and growth, and international experience to influence domestic policy. The South African think tank focuses on viewing domestic challenges through an international lens, with a goal of synthesizing the best international practices to solve the challenges facing the current school evaluation systems in South Africa. The efforts of the CDE are a key to building a foundation that will result in a higher standard for teacher preparation and a fair but effective policy for replacing consistently inadequate educators. An effective teacher evaluation system is critical to student achievement. The CDE’s research is ongoing, and we look forward to seeing their new ideas.

Read the full CDE report, “Teacher Evaluation in South African Schools.”            

Read the prior installment in this CDE series, “Teacher Evaluation: Lessons From Other Countries.”