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States Make Strides In Adopting More Rigorous Teacher Evaluation Policies


NCTQ releases annual State of the States report

An unprecedented number of states – 35 and District of Columbia Public Schools – have adopted more rigorous teacher evaluation policies and now require student achievement to be a significant criterion for rating teacher effectiveness. That’s one key finding from The National Council on Teacher Quality’s newest report, Connect the Dots: Using Evaluations of Teacher Effectiveness to Inform Policy and PracticeConnect the Dots is the 2013 State of the State report, an annual analysis of state education policies that the Joyce Foundation Education Program has supported.

Although many states are factoring in student achievement in teacher evaluations, most states lag behind in their efforts to use this new information about teacher performance to better inform policy and practice and improve student performance. Connect the Dotsidentifies what states are—and are not—doing to use teacher ratings to recognize and encourage effective instruction and to better prepare and value highly-effective teachers.

Connect the Dotsidentified Illinois as a leader in connecting evaluations to broader human capital policies and practices. The Joyce Education Program is committed to helping school districts, including Illinois’s largest district, Chicago, better implement new evaluation systems. A University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research report, funded by Joyce, found that one year into implementation, the overwhelming majority of teachers and principals believe that Chicago Public Schools’ new evaluation’s in-depth classroom observation process is fair, promotes teacher growth and is likely to lead to instructional improvement. The study was the first analysis of new evaluation systems in a large, metropolitan school district and can be useful for districts currently developing or implementing similar changes. 

Key findings from Connect the Dots include:

  • 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 measuresTwenty-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.

More Findings from Connect the Dots.

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