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Study Finds Teacher and Principal Evaluations Need Reform to Be Effective

Study Finds Teacher and Principal Evaluations Need Reform to be Effective

The National Council on Teacher Quality has released an up-to-date state-by-state report on the current state of teacher evaluations.

Of the more interesting findings from the study: most states require evaluations be at least in part based on student test scores, and most evaluations are still not differentiating performance as most teachers are ranked effective or highly effective.

Student Growth and Achievement Dominate Teacher Evaluations

43 states require student growth and achievement be factored into teacher evaluation ratings; in 18 of those states require student outcomes to be a “significant” factor while 17 more require student achievement to be ‘’the preponderant criterion for reviews of teacher performance."

The report found that only five states- California, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska and Vermont that do not have formal policy in place that requires teacher evaluation be based on student achievement as determined through test scores.

Evaluations Still Do Not Differentiate Teacher Performance

According to NCTQ, student learning objectives/outcomes (SLOs) were added to teacher evaluations in order to differentiate between teacher performance, fixing the phenomenon of most teachers being ranked the same despite clear differences in student achievement.

Using SLOs, the report says, has not proven to be effective in doing so.

"The use of student learning objectives/outcomes (SLOs) isn’t helping differentiate teacher performance. In 2015, 22 states require or allow the use of SLOs as measures of student growth for teacher evaluations. Nearly half the states that require SLOs (six of 14) require just one SLO and only nine of the 22 states that require or allow SLOs also require that the learning objectives are reviewed and approved,” the report said.

In order to fix teacher evaluations to make them more effective, the report said that performance-based evaluations need to “connect the dots,” using "evaluations of teacher effectiveness in policies of consequence for teacher training, professional development, improvement planning, compensation and accountability” as is done in Delaware, Florida and Louisiana.

Additionally, the report argues that pay should be tied directly to teacher evaluations as opposed to bonus structures subject to “budget constraints and competition priorities.”

Principal Evaluations Need more Consideration

The report found that in most states, principal evaluations are an “after thought” that need to be aligned with teacher evaluations in order to ensure principal effectiveness.

"Almost no state in the nation clearly articulates that principals, who have primary responsibility for teacher evaluations, should be themselves evaluated on the quality and effectiveness of the teacher evaluation process in their schools. Only New Jersey stands out on this front, explicitly requiring that principals are rated on fulfilling their duties implementing teacher evaluations,” the report said.

Read the full report here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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