Mitzi Farrelly, Senior effectiveness officer
The new system of performance management is a quantum leap in the monitoring and support of teachers. Appraisal was not a success first-time around. Its main purpose was to improve the quality of teaching and there is little evidence, locally or nationally, that this was the case. Curiously, though, appraisal training met with much more resistance than the training for this more rigorous system. It is a reminder of how much the professional climate has changed in the past decade.
It is hardlysurprising that appraisal proved to be so ineffective. The two-year cycle was out of step with other school management cycles. More often than not, teachers chose their own areas of focus and opted for areas of strength. Few schools adopted a line-management system and many of those who appraised teachers were not adequately trained to fulfil such a demanding role. On top of that, many review meetings that were meant to take place in the second year just didn't happen and there was no real link with continuing professional development.