Parliamentary Replies

October 15, 2020

Performance appraisal models for teachers

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang, Nee Soon GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) whether the Ministry has conducted any studies on the effect stacked ranking has on teachers collaborating with each other; (b) if so, what do the results of these studies show; and (c) whether the Ministry will conduct such studies if it has not done so.


Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang, Nee Soon GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) whether the Ministry has explored alternative performance appraisal models instead of the current stack ranking model for teachers; and (b) if so, what appraisal models has the Ministry considered.

Response

1. MOE takes guidance from the Civil Service ranking and promotion framework for our staff performance appraisal and ranking processes. So, we adopt a system where a teacher’s performance is not just assessed by his own supervisor, but also cross-ranked with his peers by a ranking panel comprising direct and indirect supervisors. The system allows us to consistently identify and recognise stronger performing officers, while at the same time provide development opportunities to those who need more support to help them improve their performance. In addition, the system also helps to moderate differences in supervisors’ assessments and establish common standards of performance assessment.

2. We adopt a holistic approach in assessing our teachers. They are expected to be able to deliver effective teaching and pastoral care, support students in their character development, interact well with students and contribute to the learning of fellow teachers. Our teachers are also assessed on their ability to work and collaborate with others.

3. Apart from feedback from our School Leaders, MOE monitors key staff-related indicators like staff collaboration through our internal staff engagement surveys, and we do not find any particular concerns raised about our teachers not being able to collaborate with one another.

4. Singapore secondary school teachers who participated in OECD’s Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) 2018 said that beyond performance ratings, they receive feedback that has a positive impact on their teaching practices. In fact, they reported that the teaching fraternity here has a strong collaborative and collegial culture, driven by a shared belief in collective improvement of practice. About 8 in 10 Singapore teachers reported that their schools have a collaborative school culture characterised by mutual support, shared responsibility, common beliefs about student learning and well-being, and an emphasis on innovation. 92% of our teachers also said that they can rely on one another, which is higher than the OECD average of 89%.

5. On balance, we find that a system of relative ranking of performance still serves its purpose today. While there are ranking guidelines to adhere to, there is also flexibility for deviations, taking into consideration the performance of individual officers and specific circumstances.

6. Nevertheless, MOE works with the Public Service Division (PSD) to review our appraisal system periodically and has made refinements to the system over the years as our operating landscape changes.

7. We will also continue to work with PSD to study alternative systems of performance management so that we can ensure our system remains relevant and effective. Beyond the ranking guidelines or even the system of performance management that is in place, what is important is for our school leaders to continue motivating and inspiring our teachers to stay true to their calling as educators and help our students reach their full potential.