The Teacher Performance and Integrity in Kenya Programme, known as TePIK, ran for three years, from 2013-16, supporting the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to address concerns around the attendance, discipline and performance appraisal process for teachers in Kenyan schools.
Managed by the British Council, and funded by Kenya’s Ministry of Education and the Department for International Development, the new teacher appraisal and development system (TAD) was piloted in six counties and reached 5222 teachers in 505 schools.
The aim of the pilot was to address a number of areas within teacher management through a more open performance monitoring and appraisal approach, with on-going teacher development placed at the very centre of efforts to improve the overall learning quality. This represents a significant shift in Kenya’s regular approach to teacher management whereby a hierarchical structure of performance assessment was previously used.
Approximately 1000 members of the schools’ boards of management and 1919 TSC staff and schools’ senior management teams (SMT) were trained to use the new TAD system.
During the pilot, teachers and SMT members responded positively, particularly with regard to the openness and transparency of the peer appraisal system. Not wanting to return to the previous system, they noted how TAD encouraged them to improve their skills and develop as teachers. One of the SMT members involved with pilot felt that “the tools of TAD give full and open information on a teacher’s performance, meaning there can be an open discussion on an issue.”
Similarly, one of the TSC Directors also commended the new approach, commenting on its success in replacing a system whereby confidential reports by the Head Teacher regarding a teacher’s performance were only submitted to the TSC.
Crucially, this shift has also impacted the relationship between teachers and members of the school administration. A parent at one of the pilot schools observed how, before the introduction of TAD, headteachers could not speak openly with their staff members but the new system was helping to improve relationships.
A unique feature of a system like TAD is that it supports ongoing classroom-based professional development throughout the year and also throughout a teacher’s career, rather than limiting this to defined training sessions or periods.
Within this lies an opportunity to improve learning outcomes. Among teachers themselves, peer appraisals and attendance monitoring was repeatedly cited as having increased a general sense of teamwork.
In 2015, the mid-term review concluded that TePIK improved the working environment for teachers, enhanced teamwork and raised attendance from 49% in 2014 to 93% in 2015.
In addition to this, examination results improved in 50% of the counties involved and the number of teachers signing up to appraisal and meeting minimum standards stood at 73%, far exceeding the original target of 40%.
For one headteacher, “TAD has brought great changes. Our teachers have become cooperative, creating a major impact on teamwork. Pupils have also become more serious and this has impacted their performance.”
The results have influenced the Global Partnership for Education to invest $5 million through the World Bank to take TePIK to scale nationwide, targeting 4000 schools and 60,000 teachers in all 47 counties over the next five years.