Secondary Education Teachers’ Approach to Evaluation. Case Study
Lately, evaluation gets an increasingly important place in teaching. In such a context, it becomes ever more necessary to deal as carefully as possible with this field of education sciences. In this study we considered evaluation as an intrinsic component of the teacher-student relationship. The quality of evaluation influences to a great extent the very performance of the student and the confidence one’s own skills. In this research we sought to reveal some aspects regarding the approach of evaluated students by a group of high school teachers (Prahova County, Romania), revealing the attitude of those who, for some time, were in the evaluator’s position. This approach of evaluation is the more relevant since we are dealing with teenage students, who are in a sensitive period of their lives, have yet unclarified and unconsolidated values, with explorations of character, with moments of confusion, self doubt, risky eccentricities, with a strong desire to clarify one’s own potential and to be reassured that he/she is not alone.
Keywords: Evaluationteacherstudentteacher-student relationship
Lately, evaluation gets an increasingly important place in teaching. As its share rises in the
orientation and regulation of education, it becomes increasingly necessary to deal (as closely as possible)
with the conditions in which it takes place and the effect it has on the specificity and dynamics of the
relationship between evaluated and evaluator.
In this field of education sciences, some experts focus on the tools and mechanisms of evaluation,
on its functions and forms but also on the criteria and standards involved (Manolescu, 2015, 2010; Cucoş,
2008). Others also invoke - in addition - the psychological effects evaluation has on students (Bocoş,
Jucan, 2008; Robinson, 2015; Thompson, 2015).
Of course, all these aspects, structures, phases and processes are very important. They ensure the
evaluative act is accomplished under the best possible conditions. Evaluation, however, can also be
regarded relationally. In fact, it occurs within the teacher - student relationship and affects the course of its
Therefore, it becomes relevant the way (high school) teachers devise, understand and carry out
student evaluation, considering students are adolescents (with all the age specific explorations, tensions,
rebelliousness, misunderstandings, exaggerations and uncertainties).
The study looked at how teachers should approach the evaluated students and at the teachers'
attitude in their dealings with students in general and as part of the evaluation relationship in particular.
For this purpose, we used the questionnaire based survey method; we applied it during March-May
2016, to a research sample consisting of 56 subjects, teachers in high schools (urban and rural) in Prahova
County. Its structure was as follows:
Data and Results
From the application of the questionnaire and collecting the data, we obtained the following situation:
Findings, Comments and Interpretations
Based on the data we obtained, we can make the following (possible) comments and
1. When asked to opt for
respondents (46%) considered it to be
most significant characteristic of their relation with their students. The next group is the one who
(30%). Small percentages (8% each) went to teachers who considered
the most important features of the didactic relationship. There were also
(explicitly) invoked and suggested
options such as
not meet any percentage points. Perhaps empathy, cooperation and communication meant - to the
investigated subjects - more than indifference/ detachment, but less than compassion and attachment (if,
indeed, they really took into consideration their spiritual load, in general, and the school context, in
particular). Also very close were those who chose the option
interact with students.
Consequently, in the perception of respondents (and perhaps in their professional conscience as
well), the most suitable attitudes towards (high school) students are
complex the ratio between them might seem!)
school teacher-subjects take into consideration, during evaluation, only what students know and/or solve.
They seek not to be influenced by what (or how much) students have learned until then, by the extent to
which they assimilated the (cognitive or practical) abilities required prior to the moment of the evaluation,
by the (more or less) effort students made. Also, it emerges that this segment of the respondent sample
evaluated student. To them, the previous (educational) course of a student is not important (at least for
the time they worked together and the teacher could distinguish student's approach to study/ the profile of
their personality under construction). Their past may constitute, in the teacher's mind, a disturbing factor
in achieving fairness in evaluation. What matters is the
beyond those limits can only alter the evaluative act and decision.
The 64% of respondents exclude the cognitive ups and downs, previous aptitudinal performances
or the difficulties encountered by students until the moment of evaluation, the obstacles they surpassed
until then; they do not (and should not, they believe) take into account the progresses and efforts
(whenever and wherever they may be), of their motivational state (so that, if they are demotivated, they
should help them that, through evaluation, to overcome this state; or, if they are motivated, to keep it up).
In short, this category of high school teachers do not regard as opportune, during evaluation, the
connection between the present and the past of the student who is currently under evaluation.
At a distance, with 14%, there are subjects that claim their first thought is to
solved and done. It seems that, to them, what's important are the criteria and the consistency with which
they apply them/ observe them as evaluators. There is no preoccupation for the emotional state of
students, for their personal history, their efforts, hesitations and assumptions during classroom
interaction, for the motivation they manifested in the subject taught by the teacher.
We find it interesting that there is a small category of high school teachers - 10% - who declare
that, during evaluation, they (almost instantaneously) think of the image of the person in front of them.
They specify the fact that they have in mind
This category of respondents also take account of the fact that teenage (high school) students are very
sensitive to their social image: they do not want to be put to shame, be ridiculed, they want to stand out
and get attention by their 'originality' or - even - originality, and they want their value recognized. The
10% of subjects know and understand that their students go through an identity crisis and - as a
consequence - they do not want to lay stress on it (worsen it). These teachers-evaluators believe that to
their students a positive image (in the eyes of others) or one that matches their own expectations is (more)
important to the formation and evolution of personality than an extremely rigorous evaluation, that follows the requirements and standards of the curriculum too closely, more important than the way they
performed at the given time (more or less arbitrary) of the assessment of their knowledge and
It is also worthy of mentioning that such vision about evaluation and its materialization has its
shortcomings/ disadvantages: even if we are preoccupied by the prestige of the students under evaluation
in front of their colleagues we cannot stray too far from the criteria for passing the exams, for establishing
the extent to which they have or operate acquired knowledge (as many as they might have) as per the
requirements of official school documents. We understand, thus, that in evaluation we have to take into
account several benchmarks: curriculum, criteria, correctness-equidistance, system's policies, the
aspirations of the given school administration, the social image of the evaluated student, currently in a
delicate position, rather troubled from the point of view of their self-identity, etc.
There were other options as well, each listed with a 4%: some have claimed their first thought
when evaluating is
means this minor category links the present of the student's evaluation to the potential they foresee in
him/her, manifested into a more or less near/ distant future); another 4% revealed the first thought that
comes to mind almost as if by reflex when evaluating students is
not go indifferent to the emotional charge involved by any act of human evaluation. There are also
teachers (as many or few as they may be!) who think at the emotions (caused by the uncertainties, gaps,
confusions and impediments of students) of those who are forced to face the complexity, hazard and
constraints of evaluation.
Looking further carefully, we notice that no subject has chosen the options referring to:
or to evaluate
mature, apt to take on responsibility for what they do, without considering that current evaluations make
up - one way or another, from a certain existential perspective - the experiences that support disciples in
investigated teachers (56%) perceive understanding towards students as the
not narrow it down to the requirements, expectations, standards and strict content of the topic under
evaluation, but are interested about all the evaluated students have to offer on the
understanding is when the evaluator adopts a broader vision about students' performance seeking to find
whether they are indeed worthy to pass the exam or not.
Understanding in what concerns students under evaluation does not require mechanical, dry and
highly exact reproduction of the contents of a test-subject, in which the student does not feel involved and to which they do not bring any personal note or contribution. It is important to see how they approach the
subject, how they lead their presentations, what the students' searches in relation to the topic are, what
language they use and what solutions think to be most viable. In short, being understanding in an
evaluative context represents, for most high school teachers,
There are, however, at a distance (leading with 18%), teachers for whom student understanding
student understanding - put stress on the emotional state of mind of the evaluated student, which in many
situations plays an important role in their ability to gather and organize their thoughts/ ideas, be clear and
concise in expression (be it oral or written), in offering an original take on the test-subject.
The following category (10%) comprises (high school) teachers who believe that
believe - of scientific and professional interest to see how this category of respondents works with their
students, what is the atmosphere in their classrooms, what motivates their students and what level they -
constantly - reach in their results, that is to say what sort of people enter society after graduation.
Unlike this way of treating understanding in an evaluative context, 6% of subjects considered that
understanding the students under evaluation means
understand understanding in an extremely broad sense, which undermines the evaluative act itself.
Perhaps for teachers who are sure of their students and are skilled in the theory and practice of evaluation,
a certain option appears unacceptable, even fanciful.
From the collected data, it emerged that respondents do not assimilate understanding in evaluation
under-prepared, but neither with
In the functioning of a school system and of school in general, evaluation became a key point and
a capital concern. Apparently it went to the fore. It is not a cut and dry operation. It represents (and it
always will) a field to be explored, researched. It is an unknown variable worthy of being solved, as with
any other unknown variable which elicits temptation of the investigation and courage alike (when facing
the expected, and especially the unexpected risks).
In our research we have departed from the (assumed) premise that any evaluation takes place
within the teacher-student relationship. Apart from the inherent emotional charge, it implies a certain
attitude of the evaluator during its process. The teacher may opt for maintaining the behavior they
adopted in the period prior to the evaluative act or they may change it; as a consequence, they may have a
consistent attitude in their relationship with students, or one adapted to the various stages of the didactic
We considered that, in evaluation, at least two aspects are worthy of being studied: one, that
referring to the first thought that comes to mind almost instantly to teachers when they enter the role of evaluators; the other, referring to the way they relate to the special situation their students find themselves
in for a certain amount of time.
Based on the accuracy with which they know their students, on their interest for their healthy
development, based on their psycho-pedagogical culture, the peculiarities of their relationship with
students (throughout their entire professional career, in general, and with those currently under
evaluation, in particular), on their human and teaching experience, on the depth of its understanding, the
teachers-evaluators may manifest a certain understanding towards the students under evaluation or they
may be indifferent and distant considering any form of understanding alters and distorts the results of
Our modest study (which may be continued, deepened, extended) it emerges that it is important to
include the teacher student relationship into the concept and practice of evaluation. It is a significant
element, the more so since we are dealing with teenage students, who are in a sensitive period of their
lives, have yet unclarified and unconsolidated values, with explorations of character, with moments of
confusion (sometimes even potentially compromising), with strong mimetic tendencies (usually frivolous
behaviors), self doubt, risky eccentricities or prolonged loneliness.
High school students need as clear and honest as possible an attitude from the teacher - including
during evaluation - to better know themselves, to clarify of their own potential, to know that they are not
deserted or considered incapable and it is very important in life to offer the world what we are capable of,
as far as our talent and good faith allow it.
- Bocoş, M., Jucan, D. (2008). Teoria şi metodologia instruirii. Teoria şi metodologie evaluării.
- Repere şi instrumente didactice pentru formarea profesorilor. Ediţia a III-a. Piteşti: Editura
- Paralela 45
- Cucoş, C. (2008). Teoria şi metodologia evaluării. Iaşi: Editura Polirom
- Manolescu, M. (2015). Referenţialul în evaluarea şcolară. Bucureşti: Editura Universitară
- Manolescu, M. (2010). Teoria şi metodologia evaluării. Bucureşti: Editura Universitară
- Robinson, K., Aronica, L. (2015). Şcoli creative. Revoluţia de la bază a învăţământului. Bucureşti:
- Editura Publica
- Thompson, M. (2015). Educaţia fără constrângere. Bucureşti: Editura Herald
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