07 November, 2012

Supervision & Evaluation: Foundations

Seminal Texts that Provide Historical Foundations:

Prominent text regarding the history and foundation of the American educational system consistently trace information regarding the first occurrences of a heightened sense of the need for supervision of curriculum and instruction to the mid to late 19th century and the formation of common schools and the first state normal school (Glatthorn, Boschee, & Whitehead, 2009; Johnson, Musial, Hall, Gollnick, & Dupuis, 2008; Nolan & Hoover, 2008).  Text written in 1894 attributed to Superintendent Balliet of Massachusetts set the stage regarding supervision in educational institutions by suggesting that teachers could be identified as incompetent and that there were behavioral remedies that could be applied to such teachers in an attempt to reform them (Glanz & Behhar-Horenstein, 2000).  However, it was the introduction of Frederick Winslow Taylor’s 1911 book titled the Principles of Scientific Management and Franklin Bobbitt’s 1913 follow up work that began to shape the role of the supervisor and bore the first introduction to the idea of best practices (Glanz & Behhar-Horenstein, 2000).  This initial model of supervision was categorized as bureaucratic and ushered in the use of efficiency scales that resulted in teacher rating (Sullivan & Glanz, 2005; Glanz, 1990).

Bureaucratic supervision was challenged during the progressive era beginning in the 1920s largely influenced by the writings of John Dewey and an awaking of the use of democracy to achieve common goals (Nolan & Hoover, 2008).  Text initially prepared by Goldhammer in 1969 titled Clinical Supervision: Special Techniques for the Supervision of Teachers, elaborated on by Cogan in 1973 in a book titled Clinical Supervision, introduced practices that included collegial relationships and a partnership approach to supervision.  The primary focus regarding supervision outlined by Goldhammer and Cogan (as cited in Nolan & Hoover, 2008) was to separate the role of the supervisor from the role of the evaluator.  The role of the supervisor was to act as a supporter who, “…develops a trusting relationship with the teacher and provides intellectual service to improve the teacher’s practice and student learning” (Nolan & Hoover, 2008, p. 4).

Madeline Hunter’s 1984 text titled Knowing, Teaching, and Supervising redefined clinical supervision in the 1980s in an attempt to combine scientific research-based practices of identifying elements that make for effective instruction with the goal of improving teacher’s practices and student learning (Marzano, Frontier, & Linvingston, 2011).  Although Hunter’s model of supervision and identification of essential elements of instruction were reportedly, “turned into a teacher-rating checklist in district after district” (Nolan & Hoover, 2008, p. 5), Hunter advocated for the use of her research in a manner that was consistent with analysis for the purpose of increasing teacher effectiveness (Glatthorn, Boschee, & Whitehead, 2009).  The work completed by Hunter provided a foundation for current texts regarding supervision including Joyce and Showers’  (2002) text Student Achievement Through Staff Development, Mangin and Stoelinga’s (2008) text Effective Teacher Leadership, and Joyce and Calhoun’s (2010) text Models of Professional Development, all of which adhere to a scientific model focused on providing ongoing support to teachers to increase proficiency levels using research-based practices.  The formula subscribed to in current supervision models focuses on increasing the use of best practices by teachers as a means to increase teacher proficiency and student achievement (Richardson, 2008)


Glatthorn, A. A., Boschee, F., & Whitehead, B. M. (2009). Curriculum leadership: Strategies for development and implementation (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Joyce, B., & Showers, B. (2002). Student achievement through staff development (3rd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Johnson, J. A., Musial, D., Hall, G. E., Gollnick, D. M., & Dupuis, V. L. (2008). Foundations of American education: Perspectives on education in a changing world (14th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.

Glanz, J., & Behhar-Horenstein, L. (Eds.). (2000). Supervision: Don’t discount the value of the modern. Paradigm debates in curriculum and supervision: Modern and Postmodern perspectives (pp. 70-92). Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing.

Mangin, M. M., & Stoelinga, S. R. (2008). Effective Teacher Leadership: Using research to inform and reform. New York, NY: Teacher’s College, Columbia University.

Marzano, R. J., Frontier, T., & Linvingston, D. (2011). A brief history of supervision and evaluation. In Effective Supervision (Ch. 2). Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/110019/chapters/A-Brief-History-of-Supervision-and-Evaluation.aspx

Nolan, J. H., & Hoover, L. A. (2008). Teacher supervision & evaluation: Theory into practice (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Richardson, J. (2008). Student achievement scores prove professional learning’s merit. Journal of Staff Development29(1), 69-71.

Sullivan, S., & Glanz, J. (2005). Supervision that improves teaching (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

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