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Vertical Modules (VM) Tutor Appraisal Scheme
Introduction to appraisal
A quality assurance strategy together with robust quality management and enhancement activities encourage quality performance. In the area of education such activities include performance management, assessment, evaluation of teaching and learning activities, and teacher appraisal resulting in setting developmental objectives for the ensuing appraisal period. All of these activities are linked to each other with information from one activity informing the other activities. However the processes are not interchangeable and it is important to be explicit and clear about the purpose of any activity involving quality management.
The process of appraisal concerns reflection that encourages the development and education of the individual teacher and the process should be an informative and enriching one for all concerned.
The Department of Health 1 define appraisal as:
- A positive process
- Providing an opportunity to,
- Reflect and to help develop a reflective culture
- Consider how to improve effectiveness
- Identify development needs
- Underpin continuing professional development
The process should emphasise a positive and developmental approach, be fair and effective and be well informed.
Framework for good practice in VM Tutor appraisal
- A self-assessment exercise carried out by tutors using the framework outlining attributes of a competent /excellent /unacceptable VM Tutor (Form A link).
- Completion of a self-reflection exercise critically evaluating a teaching session (Form B).
- A peer observation of teaching. (Forms C & D).
- A biennial appraisal meeting with the site lead trained in facilitation of appraisal (Form E).
- A form to confirm completion of the appraisal (Form F)
The peer observation and feedback and appraisal meeting should, if possible, take place on the same day or close to the day of the appraisal. Tutors must submit a lesson plan (Form D) for the observed teaching session before the peer observation and forms A and B five days prior to the appraisal meeting.
The appraisal and peer observation paperwork
This document consists of a standards document outlining the competencies expected of a VM Tutor, the additional competencies that mark out excellence in teaching.
Tutors must complete a brief reflective document, about their own abilities and areas for development. This document must be submitted to the Appraiser five days prior to the appraisal meeting.
Tutors must complete this form following one of their VM sessions. They may wish to do this more than once, either to reflect on one ‘good’ session and one that didn’t go so well or to chart progress with regard an area they noted that they wished to improve. This document must be submitted to the Appraiser five days prior to the appraisal meeting.
Forms C and D
Peer Observation of Teaching
Peer review of teaching with constructive feedback forms an important part of teacher appraisal.
VM Tutors must arrange a mutually convenient time for observing a session with the Appraiser and provide a. copy of their lesson plan (Form C) before the session.
Appraisers must consider the guidance on observation and feedback in Section 3 and allow a few minutes before the session to discuss with the tutor on which particular aspects of their teaching they would like feedback.
Form D is the checklist for use during the session and afterwards in the feedback session.
Forms E & F
The appraisal interview must be conducted at least every second year (within the first year for new tutors) at a time and venue suitable for both parties. It needs to be conducted in an atmosphere of trust with the purpose of the meeting clearly identified. The appraiser should be suitably skilled.
Form E is a recommended structure to use in the interview. The appraiser must work with the appraisee to devise a simple personal development plan that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
Form F is to be completed following the interview and returned to VM administration.
Peer Observation Good Practice
Peer observation is one of the tools recommended by the Quality Management and Enhancement Committee (QMEC) at UCL.
The aims of peer review are:
- to enhance teaching quality by encouraging reflection on practice
- and, to assist the development of teaching skills through formative and constructive feedback.
The principles underpinning UCL’s approach to peer observation are:
- It is a developmental rather than judgemental process
- Any feedback should be formative and not summative
Ground Rules for Peer Observation of Teaching
- The observed teacher and students must be aware of what is happening.
- It is a confidential process.
- Plan ahead –
- allow time for briefing
- choose the session
- the time of feedback
- Before the session the observer must:
- clarify the goals of session
- define the role of observer
- identify particular areas to be observed
- clarify what use is to be made of the feedback
- agree when feedback will take place.
- In the session the teacher must introduce the observer to the students and explain his/her role.
- The observer must give confidential and constructive feedback in the correct order as soon as possible after the observed session.
Use Form D to evaluate teaching. It is important to write down specific examples to support your assessment of the teaching otherwise your comments may be difficult to substantiate.
Conducting a feedback session – some guidelines
Feedback is the process of informing another of your observation of his or her behaviour. Its purpose is to help people learn or become more effective. How and when you give feedback is as important as what you say. If done badly it can actually hinder a person’s ability to learn and damage their confidence. The following guidelines outline how to conduct feedback.
Although written for evaluating teaching skills, the principles are applicable to any situation in which one person is giving feedback on the performance of another.
Before the session:
See paragraph 4 above.
After the session:
- Feedback should be as soon as possible after the session
- It is important to allow those being debriefed to say something about their session before you give feedback. Allow them to highlight problems and possible solutions first.
- Positive feedback should come before suggested improvements
The recommended order of feedback is:
Areas for improvement
5. Finish with constructive overview
Points to remember when you are debriefing:
- LET THE SUBJECT DO THE TALKING
- Focus on behaviour rather than the person
- Comment on the effect of behaviour rather than intention
- Be specific and give an example rather than intention
- Maintain confidentiality
- Be aware of the balance between positive and negative feedback
- Suggest or ask observed person to suggest alternatives where improvements are required
- Effective feedback should be focused on the amount of information the receiver can make use of rather than the amount you feel capable of giving
- Think about whose needs you are satisfying when you give feedback
- Focus only on things which can be changed
Appraisal Good Practice
The process of appraisal concerns reflection. It should encourage the development and education of the individual teacher and the process should be an informative and enriching one for all concerned.
The appraisal meeting
The interview must be conducted at least every second year (within the first year for new tutors) at a time and venue suitable for both parties. It needs to be conducted in an atmosphere of trust with the purpose of the meeting clearly identified. The appraiser should be suitably skilled (see below).
The following structure should be used which has been successfully used in GP appraisal and is outlined in Good Medical Practice for GPs4 in the section on teaching and training:
- What do you think are your main strengths and weaknesses as a PDS Tutor?
- Has your teaching work changed over the last year (give specific examples) has it improved?
- What would you like to do more or better?
- What are your current development needs?
- What factors constrain you in achieving what you aim for in your teaching work?
The appraiser should work with the appraisee to devise simple personal developmental objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. This information will be shared between appraiser and appraisee only. The appraiser will need to complete a checklist to confirm that the appraisal meeting has taken place and that some personal development plans have been agreed.
The Attributes of an effective appraiser are defined as:
- Be suitably trained in appraisal skills
- Demonstrate a commitment to and familiarity with the process and accompanying documentation
- Have a good knowledge of the work of the appraisee
- Use good interpersonal skills
- Demonstrate sensitivity and self awareness
- Provide encouragement
- Be able to facilitate reflection and enable the appraisee to construct a learning plan
- Have a reasonable working relationship with the appraisee.
During the appraisal process the appraiser should use open questions and follow with probing questions to allow the appraisee to provide examples or details. S/he should engage in discussion rather than advising and should encourage the appraisee to make decisions about action that are realistic and appropriate.
Details of the meeting between appraiser and appraisee will not be made available to course leaders except under the following specific circumstances:
- The deficiencies identified are so severe that the appraiser feels that continued practice by the tutor will have significant consequences.
- The appraiser has significant worries about the tutor. The appraiser has completed a second meeting within the next six months and there appears to have been no realistic attempts to rectify these deficiencies.
Please refer to guidance on setting SMARTER objectives.