Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The alignment between teacher evaluation and professional learning

Policymakers and researchers recommend aligning educator evaluation and professional development systems to support improvements in instruction and student learning. However, few empirical studies have examined this relationship.

This study examines the alignment between teacher evaluation and professional learning in a large urban district in the REL Northeast & Islands Region. The study examined a sample of teachers who were rated less than proficient in at least one standard on the evaluation rubric on their 2012/13 summative evaluation or 2014 formative evaluation and who were prescribed certain professional activities to help them improve.

The study found that teachers received written directives, or “prescriptions,” across all four standards of the district’s evaluation rubric—curriculum, planning and assessment; teaching all students; family and community engagement; and professional culture. Teachers reported participating in more professional activities for the instruction-based standards than for the non-instruction-based standards. Although the majority of teachers reported participating in at least one professional activity prescribed by their evaluators for the instruction-based standards, for all standards, fewer than 40 percent of teachers reported participating in all the activities their evaluators prescribed.

Only the standard related to curriculum, planning, and assessment showed a significant difference in improvement for teachers who participated in professional activities related to this standard. Of the teachers who had received a prescription for that standard, and participated in any professional activities related to that standard, 64 percent received at least a proficient rating on a subsequent evaluation. By comparison, 34 percent of the teachers with prescriptions for that standard who did not participate in related activities raised their rating to proficient.

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