Case History:  SAS Educational Programs

Founded in 1912, Shanghai American School (SAS) is China’s largest international school, with more than 2,600 students from more than 40 different countries. SAS is an independent, non-profit and non-sectarian school offering an exemplary core American education program for expatriate students from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12.

To help ensure that SAS continues to meet its educational mission, school administrators and faculty developed a comprehensive performance evaluation program based on extensive research into best practices of teacher evaluation.  These practices are tied to specific goals:

  • Enhancing student learning through improvement of professional practice.
  • Identifying the need for and encouraging the pursuit of professional development and personal growth.
  • Recognizing and reinforcing professional practice.

To help meet these objectives, teachers gather evidence of instructional practice, including a portfolio that includes a Parent Input Survey that enables parents to provide meaningful feedback. An online service administers the survey to ensure the anonymity of both respondents and teachers.  Campus principals, assisted by technical support staff, hold coffees to demonstrate how to complete the survey, which is available in English, Chinese and Korean.  Parents also can choose to complete the survey with staff help during these meetings.

Complete survey data is compiled by technical support staff and provided to teachers as a PDF file.  The information also is reviewed by supervisors with each teacher during portfolio reviews and during end-of-term evaluation conferences.

The goal is two-fold:  first, to give teachers information that identifies areas for improvement and, second, to reinforce the parent-teacher partnership by enabling parents to indicate how faculty can better meets the needs of students.  The survey acts as a vehicle for this information—both celebrations and observations for follow-up—for each of their child’s teachers.

“From the beginning, the purpose of the survey has been to give teachers an opportunity to receive feedback from parents for the purpose of professional growth,” said Andrew Torris, SAS deputy superintendent. “The partnership between parents and teachers is a critical part of our mission. All of us, including educational professionals, work best when we receive accurate, informative feedback.  We need to know what we are doing well, and how we might expand the positive aspects of our practice to more effectively meet the needs of our students.  As educational professionals, like all people, we also need clear feedback to identify areas for improvement.”