Thursday, October 31, 2013


The National Council on Teacher Quality has released Connecting the Dots: Using Evaluations of Teacher Effectiveness to Inform Policy and Practice, which provides a lay of the land on state teacher evaluation policy in 2013.

The report finds that there has been an unprecedented adoption of more rigorous teacher evaluation policies across the states, with 35 states and the District of Columbia Public Schools now requiring student achievement to be a significant criterion for rating teacher effectiveness.

Key findings on state teacher evaluation policy: ·

- Annual evaluations of all teachers. In 2009, only 15 states required annual evaluations of all teachers, with some states permitting teachers to go five years or more between evaluations. In 2013, 27 states and the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) now require annual evaluations for all teachers.

- Objective measures of student learning most significant criterion in evaluations. Only a few years ago, in 2009, a mere four states required evidence of student learning to be the most significant criterion for teacher evaluations. In 2013, 19 states and the District of Columbia Public Schools require student growth and achievement to be the preponderant criterion, and another 16 states require it to count to a significant extent. At present, only Alabama, California, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Texas and Vermont lack formal policy requiring teacher evaluations to take some objective measures of student achievement into account in evaluating teacher effectiveness.

- Multiple measures. Twenty-seven states require teacher ratings to be based on multiple measures of student growth and achievement. Almost every state (44 and DCPS) requires classroom observations to be incorporated into teacher evaluations, and 25 states and DCPS require multiple observations – for all teachers. In addition, 17 states now require or allow surveys of students, parents and/or peers. Across the 35 states and DCPS where student achievement is intended to be a significant or the most significant criterion for judging teacher performance, NCTQ finds: · Most states have yet to connect the dots, with little policy in place to use information about teacher performance in ways that can improve practice and ensure that all students have effective teachers. Eight states (Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Rhode Island and Tennessee) and DCPS are ahead of the curve in their development of a comprehensive set of teacher policies that are well informed by evaluations of teacher effectiveness.

- Tenure and licensure advancement. As of September 2013, only about half of the states with ambitious evaluation designs (18 and DCPS) require that tenure decisions must be informed by teacher evaluation ratings. And in only 8 of those 35 states are teacher evaluations used to determine licensure advancement.

- Professional development. Most of the states with ambitious evaluation systems (19 and DCPS) specifically require in state policy that teacher evaluation results be used to inform and shape professional development for all teachers.

- Ineffectiveness. Most of the states with ambitious teacher evaluations (25 and DCPS) require that teachers with poor evaluations be placed on an improvement plan. And almost as many states (22 and DCPS) have policies that ensure that persistent classroom ineffectiveness is grounds for a teacher to be dismissed.

- Teacher compensation. While there are 10 states that are making some moves in the
right direction by supporting performance pay initiatives, just Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Utah and DCPS directly tie teacher compensation to teacher evaluation results.

- Reporting effectiveness data. Just eight states – Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania—require that teacher effectiveness ratings must be reported school by school, an important indicator of how equitably .effective teachers are distributed within and among school districts.

- Layoffs. Not even half (14 and DCPS) of the states with ambitious evaluation policies require districts to use teacher performance to inform staffing decisions in the event layoffs are necessary.

- Teacher preparation. Only a handful of states – Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee – have adopted policies connecting the performance of students to their teachers and the institutions where their teachers were trained. Just three states with strong evaluation designs – Florida, Illinois and Tennessee – use information from teacher evaluations to place teaching candidates with effective teacher mentors.

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