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Human resources

Performance and Development for Teacher Class Employees

The performance and development approach

The following section provides a step-by-step guide through each stage of the performance and development cycle

Reviewer

The principal is ultimately responsible for the performance and development process for all staff. However, the principal may delegate the role of reviewer to an appropriate member of their leadership team or another appropriately experienced member of staff (particularly in larger schools). Nominees will make recommendations about staff performance and development to the principal who is responsible for making the final decision in relation to each stage.

Principals may wish to conduct the end-cycle review in a one-on-one setting, or set up a review panel — for example, a small panel made up of leadership team members that make recommendations to the principal about a teacher’s performance and development. If a panel is adopted, it should be assembled at the start of the cycle and panel members should be involved in the staff member’s performance and development process throughout the cycle.

Annual performance cycle

The performance and development cycle will operate on a calendar year cycle while the progression cycle will continue to operate from May to April.

The performance and development plan will cover the school year unless otherwise agreed with the employee.

The key dates and requirements for performance and development each year are as follows:

  • before 1 March — notification requirement (in writing) for teachers who may not achieve a successful performance and development outcome
  • by 30 April — all teachers must be advised of their final performance and development outcome
  • 1 May to 30 April — a teacher with less than 6 months eligible service between this period at a particular salary subdivision will not be eligible for salary progression for that cycle
  • on 1 May — salary progression occurs for eligible teachers who achieve a successful performance and development outcome

Refer to Other information chapter in these Policy and Guidelines.

Reflection and goal setting (start of cycle)

‘If there is a generic principle of practice, it is probably that teaching must be responsive to the specific needs of the students being taught’ (Timperley, 2011).

Figure 5 Roles and Responsibilities

Role and responsibilities for start of PDP cycle for teacher class: Teacher, Reviewer (principal or nominee)
Figure 5 Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities

1  Reflect on practice and past performance and development (where relevant)

  • teacher class employee to reflect on practice and past performance and development (where relevant)
  • reviewer (principal or nominee) to provide support as required

2  Develop annual performance and development goals, short-term strategies and evidence required to demonstrate goal achievement

  • teacher class employee to develop annual performance and development goals, short-term strategies and evidence required to demonstrate goal achievement
  • reviewer (principal or nominee) to provide support as required

3  Develop draft PDP

  • teacher class employee to develop draft PDP
  • reviewer (principal or nominee) to provide support as required

4  Meet with reviewer to discuss and agree to PDP

  • teacher class employee to meet with reviewer to discuss and agree to PDP
  • reviewer (principal or nominee) to meet with teacher to discuss and agree on their PDP
Download Figure 5 Roles and Responsibilities

Reflection and discussion

Teachers will meet with their reviewer at the beginning of each cycle. Teachers should come to the meeting having reflected on the previous year, their teaching practice, student learning and broader student outcomes, as well as areas for development and what they hope to achieve in the coming year.

This initial meeting will be used to discuss and refine the teacher’s draft Performance and Development Plan (PDP) which will incorporate the teacher’s proposed goals, strategies and supporting evidence, as well as discussing clear expectations for performance and development. An agreement between the teacher and reviewer should be reached about what will constitute success at the feedback and review stage. During this meeting, the teacher’s PDP will be finalised and agreed on by the teacher and reviewer. Figure 5 above describes the roles and responsibilities of the teacher and reviewer.

Goal setting

Building on an understanding of the Standards and the school priorities for professional practice, teachers will refine, through discussion with their reviewer, goals in relation to each of the Domains of Teaching and a goal focused on student outcomes, which takes into account the Domains of Teaching. These goals should follow the SMART goal methodology (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).

Goals should be based on previous reviews (where relevant) be clear and evidence-based, and reflect the teacher's developmental needs. It is important that the reviewer and teacher discuss what the achievement of a goal requires in the context of their school and career stage.

Teachers’ performance and development goals should ultimately be aimed at improving student outcomes through improved teaching practice. They should draw on a range of resources to inform their goal setting including:

  • learning needs of their students
  • the Standards
  • the teacher’s role description and classification
  • the School Strategic Plan (SSP) and Annual Implementation Plan (AIP)
  • evidence and research about effective teaching
  • the school’s agreed approach to teaching and learning

The Department has developed tools and resources to assist with goal setting which can be accessed at Professional Learning and Quality Teaching Practice (login required).

In summary, performance and development goals should be:

  • SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound)
  • evidence-based
  • aligned with school priorities
  • appropriate to the teacher’s classification level
  • ‘stretch goals’ — they should be developmental, and based on areas or skills that are yet to be achieved, rather than those already consolidated
  • agreed between employee and reviewer and regularly reviewed and adjusted if required (by agreement)

Strategies

Teachers should document strategies that will directly support them to achieve their performance and development goals over the course of the cycle. These may include teaching strategies, capacity building, collaboration and, or professional learning.

Evidence

‘Evidence selected should be ‘adequate, authentic, appropriate and accurate' (Griffin, 2008).

Teachers will also need to clearly nominate a range of evidence that will enable them to demonstrate their progress towards and achievement of their performance and development goals. Collecting and reflecting on evidence is critical to effective performance and development processes, by enabling teachers to demonstrate the impact of their practice. Additionally, evidence provides the basis for further development by informing growth and access to high quality professional learning.

A range of evidence is required to produce a meaningful perspective of a teacher’s performance and development throughout the cycle (Timperley, 2008). Evidence selected should be relevant and accessible, and should include the data and information collected as part of a teacher’s everyday practice. Evidence should be an exercise in collation rather than creation. The quality of evidence is critical to ensuring that specific and growth-oriented feedback is provided to teachers to support their ongoing development.

When selecting evidence, teachers should ask themselves the following:

  • How will I know I have achieved my goal and had the desired impact?
  • How could I demonstrate that I have achieved the goal?
  • Who will benefit from me having done this?
  • Can I ask those who benefit from my work for feedback?

In line with the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework (2012) teachers may include data showing impact on student outcomes, information based on direct observation of teaching to facilitate inquiry and feedback to improve practice, and evidence of collaboration with colleagues. The Framework also outlines additional sources of evidence that may be agreed to, such as:

  • student feedback
  • peer or supervisor feedback
  • parent feedback
  • teacher self-assessment
  • evidence of participation in professional learning and teacher reflection on its impact
  • evidence of participation in professional learning teams (for example, design of curriculum or moderation of student assessment) and reflection on its impact

As well as drawing from the list above, staff may discuss (as a whole) the types of evidence that would be useful. The Department has developed tools and resources to assist with identifying and collecting appropriate evidence, which can be accessed at Professional Learning and Quality Teaching Practice (login required).

Professional practice and learning (mid-cycle)

‘Feedback has no effect in a vacuum, to be powerful in its effect, there must be a learning context to which feedback is addressed’ (Hattie and Timperley, 2007).

Figure 6 Roles and Responsibilities

Role and responsibilities for PDP mid-cycle for teacher class: teacher, reviewer (principal or nominee)
Figure 6 Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities

1  Reflect on practice 

  • teacher class employee to reflect on practice 
  • reviewer (principal or nominee) to provide support as required

2  Meet with reviewer to discuss progress towards achieving performance and development goals

  • teacher class employee to meet with reviewer to discuss progress towards achieving performance and development goals
  • reviewer (principal or nominee) to consider evidence presented. Provide quality feedback to teacher, indicating progress to date and identifying support options or developmental opportunities as required 

3  Refine PDP (if required)

  • teacher class employee to refine PDP (if required)
  • reviewer (principal or nominee) to assist teacher in refining PDP (if required)
Download Figure 6 Roles and Responsibilities

Self-assessment

Teachers should monitor progress against their performance and development goals, focus on achieving their goals and collect evidence of their practice and impact on student achievement, engagement and wellbeing throughout the year in preparation for the mid-cycle and end-cycle discussions.

Professional conversations about practice

A mid-cycle discussion should be scheduled between the teacher and reviewer to discuss progress against agreed performance and development goals. The mid-cycle discussion provides an important and formal opportunity for teachers to receive feedback and, where required, support to enable performance and development goals to be achieved by the end-cycle. However, feedback and support can be provided at any time during the performance and development cycle.

Discussion at this stage of the cycle enables both teachers and reviewers to re-define goals, professional learning and development opportunities, and re-define nominated forms of evidence identified in the PDP. Any changes are to be agreed between the reviewer and the teacher.

The formal mid-cycle review is also an opportunity for concerns about performance to be raised, and expectations for improvement prior to the end-cycle review to be discussed. This may include identifying further opportunities for collaboration, capacity building and, or professional learning. It is important to note that concerns about performance should be raised as soon as they are identified and discussed in the context of how the teacher can work towards meeting their goals. Figure 6 above describes the roles and responsibilities of the teacher and reviewer.

Feedback

Performance and development processes are effective when they provide teachers with meaningful feedback, so they can reflect and improve their practice and obtain support to improve and develop their skills. For feedback to be constructive and effective, it is important that it is actionable, supported by examples, and provides substantial opportunities for improvement.

Both verbal and written feedback should be provided to teachers at the mid-cycle and end-cycle points. The provision of informal feedback is recommended throughout the cycle, from the principal, peers and students. This encourages continual reflection and improvement from all lenses of the learning environment.

Effective feedback must address three major questions (Hattie and Timperley, 2007, Timperley, 2011):

  • Where am I going?
  • How am I going?
  • Where to next?

Teachers should seek feedback from a range of sources (which may include peers, the principal, the leadership team, students, parents and self-reflection) in order to answer these questions.

When providing feedback to teachers, reviewers should support teachers to become self-regulators — evaluators of their own practice and their impact on student learning. Feedback should be aimed at motivating and empowering teachers to identify where their practice could be more effective and to make the necessary adjustments. Equally as important, teachers must enter feedback sessions with an open mind, and be willing and receptive to meaningful and constructive feedback.

Professional learning

‘Through learning we re-create ourselves' (Senge, 1990).

Principals have a responsibility to support performance and development by establishing a high quality professional learning culture, characterised by:

  • a high degree of leadership support for ongoing adult learning and risk-taking
  • collective responsibility for improving practice
  • disciplined collaboration focused on student learning needs
  • high levels of trust, interaction and interdependence
  • support through school structures, explicit planning and the allocation of time
  • coaching and mentoring and teacher-led action research, which are strategies that commonly feature in effective school based staff development

Professional learning should have a demonstrable impact on a staff member’s development, as well as on student achievement, engagement and wellbeing. For professional learning to be effective, it must be relevant, collaborative and future-focused (Australian Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders, AITSL, 2012). There is strong evidence to suggest that a sustained approach to professional learning has a stronger impact on practice than ad-hoc learning opportunities and that the closer to the classroom those efforts to improve practice occur, the bigger the impact they are likely to have on student learning (Timperley et al, 2011).

Timperley suggests a range of interactive elements should form the basis of a ‘cycle of inquiry’ for teacher professional learning including:

  • grounding learning in the immediate problems of practice
  • deepening relevant pedagogical content and assessment knowledge
  • engaging existing theories of practice on which to base ongoing inquiry processes

In this process, teachers collectively and individually identify key issues for student learning and these become the drivers for acquiring the knowledge they need to address them, monitor the impact of their actions and adjust their practice accordingly.

Feedback and review (end of cycle)

‘Ideally teacher appraisal should give teachers tailored feedback, which should then be followed with opportunities for continuous learning in the areas identified’ (Hill and Herlihy, OECD 2011).

Figure 7 Roles and Responsibilities

Role and responsibilities for PDP end-cycle for teacher class: teacher, reviewer (principal or nominee)
Figure 7 Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities

1  Consider evidence and self-assess 

  • teacher class employee to consider the evidence collected.  Self-assess performance and development against goals.  Record final self-reflections and update plan
  • reviewer (principal or nominee) to provide support as required

2  Meet with reviewer for performance and development review

  • teacher class employee to meet with reviewer for performance and development review, prepared to describe achievements, professional growth and areas for future focus
  • reviewer (principal or nominee) to meet with the teacher for their performance and development review. Consider evidence presented. Consider whether the teacher met their performance and development goals, demonstrating the Australian Standards at the appropriate level. Provide an outcome with verbal and written feedback for each goal

3  Receive final performance and development review outcome with written feedback

  • teacher class employee to receive final performance and development review outcome with written feedback
  • if the reviewer is the principal's nominee, provide performance recommendation to the principal to approve the final outcome or, if the reviewer is the principal, determine the performance review outcome, provide written feedback and approve
Download Figure 7 Roles and Responsibilities

A formal end-cycle performance and development review will be undertaken annually. The review will be based on evidence that the teacher has achieved their performance and development goals and had a positive impact on student learning, through improved practice and professional growth.

Preparation for formal review

Teachers should prepare for the formal end-cycle review by:

  • collating and analysing evidence collected over the course of the performance and development cycle
  • reflecting on their performance and professional growth over the cycle, with reference to their performance and development goals and the Standards, and the impact this has had on their students and school
  • preparing to describe their achievements, how they have grown professionally and areas for further development they have identified for the future (supported by evidence)
  • preparing to have a constructive professional conversation with their reviewer and receive feedback regarding their progress and professional growth in all areas of their practice

Formal review — professional judgement

Performance and development reviews require reviewers to make informed, professional judgements about teacher practice and improvement using multiple sources of evidence and with consideration to the circumstances surrounding a teacher’s professional growth throughout the cycle. Setting clear expectations at the beginning of the cycle plays a significant role in allowing reviewers to make a transparent, evidence-based and personalised assessment of a teacher’s performance and development against their goals, leading to an overall performance and development outcome.

The Standards provide benchmarks for performance at different levels of proficiency for the review. When assessing a teacher’s performance and development, data will not be considered in isolation, and no single piece of evidence will determine the performance and development outcome.

Principals are responsible for determining the overall performance and development outcome for each teacher, and this must be recorded. As well as providing verbal feedback during the end-cycle discussion, reviewers must provide teachers with written feedback. Teachers must be formally advised of the outcome by 30 April. Figure 7 describes the roles and responsibilities of the teacher and reviewer.

Personalised feedback

Feedback (verbal and written) will focus on specific areas for improvement, and will assist teachers in developing appropriate performance and development goals for the next performance cycle. This feedback should be incorporated in the development of the PDP for the following year, including appropriate development actions.

In order to facilitate the formal provision of meaningful, detailed and actionable feedback to teachers, reviewers are required to determine performance and development outcomes at the goal level across 3 levels of achievement, provide feedback explaining each outcome (Figure 8) and provide guidance for further development.

This type of feedback:

  • recognises and celebrates achievement
  • recognises and records professional growth
  • identifies new or renewed areas for focus in the next performance and development cycle
  • identifies strategies and support that can be implemented to support growth in these areas for the future

Reviewers will then exercise their professional judgement to determine a final assessment outcome. Figure 9 provides a description of the final performance and development outcomes that can be received.

In this way the formal feedback and review stage marks the formal close of one performance and development cycle and serves as the foundation for the next cycle by providing teachers with precise feedback on what they have achieved and where they can continue to learn and grow as professionals.

Figure 8 Definitions of Performance and Development Outcomes at the Goal Level

PDP descriptors: meets requirements, partially meets, does not meet
Figure 8 Definitions of Performance and Development Outcomes at the Goal Level

Meets requirements
The performance of the employee has been evaluated as meeting the goal set in their PDP, and therefore demonstrates the required performance and professional growth and improvement of practice at this stage of career development.

Partially meets requirements
The performance of the employee has been evaluated as partially meeting the goal set in their PDP, and therefore partially demonstrates the required performance and, or professional growth and improvement of practice at this stage of career development.

Does not meet requirements
The performance of the employee has been evaluated as not meeting the goal set in their PDP, and therefore does not demonstrate the required performance and, or professional growth and improvement of practice expected at this stage of career development.

Download Figure 8 Definitions of Performance and Development Outcomes at the Goal Level

Figure 9 Definitions of Final Performance and Development Outcomes

PDP descriptors: meets requirements, does not meet
Figure 9 Definitions of Final Performance and Development Outcomes

Meets requirements
The performance of the employee has been evaluated as meeting the requirements of effective performance, professional growth and improvement of practice at this stage of career development.

Does not meet requirements
The performance of the employee has been evaluated as not meeting the requirements of effective performance and, or not meeting the expectations for professional growth and improvement of practice at this stage of career development.

Download Figure 9 Definitions of Final Performance and Development Outcomes
Performance and Development for Teacher Class Employees approach

Reviewed 15 October 2021

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