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special education, teacher evaluation


Teachers have always been evaluated in some way; yet, current roles in the classroom have shifted to more scientific and data based approaches to teacher evaluation. These specialized approaches to teaching and evaluation have raised questions about using a single or uniform tool to assess educators. Special educators are particularly impacted by teacher evaluations since their roles require unique instructional and behavioral management skills. In addition to the range of technical and socio-emotional competencies, special educators are responsible for ensuring that all of their students' learning and academic needs are met. In this backgrounder, the author first provides a brief history of special education teacher evaluation processes, then considers the complexities of special educators' roles and responsibilities, and finally, interrogates special education educator evaluation within a new policy context.

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Originally published in:

Watts, G. W. (2016). An overview of the issues in evaluating special educators: Current challenges and recent developments. Texas Education Review, 4(1), 46–53. Available online at: