Reports

CTAC’s reports focus on cutting edge issues in education and community development. Our research and evaluation studies inform practice and guide policy decision-making at local, state and national levels.

Getting the Pieces Right: Professional Development, Compensation, and School-Wide Performance

Getting the Pieces Right is the study of the Teacher Incentive Performance Award (TIPA) initiative in Virginia’s Prince William County Public Schools. A $10.9 million, five-year program supported by the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Incentive Fund, TIPA sought to increase student achievement in PWCS’s 30 lowest performing schools by focusing intensively on instructional improvement.

Findings show that TIPA led to statistically significant increases in student achievement in all four core subjects analyzed as measured by Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) test results. TIPA’s processes greatly increased collaboration and instructional dialogue among principals and teachers and strengthened the use of data to inform instruction.

This five-year study describes how TIPA provided incentives that fostered collaborative school-wide improvement efforts. The initiative provided “real time,” tailored professional development to teachers and customized leadership development to the 30 TIPA principals. It implemented a performance-based compensation system combining student growth and achievement measures with 23 measures of school effectiveness, such as positive school culture, effective parent engagement, and teacher leadership. And it awarded school-based compensation bonuses, with administrators/teachers in core subjects eligible for the largest awards.

When Educators Learn, Students Learn

When Educators Learn, Students Learn is the final evaluation of the Learning Leaders initiative in Virginia’s Henrico County Public Schools. A $16.5 million, five-year program supported by the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Incentive Fund, Learning Leaders sought to increase student achievement in eight of Henrico’s lowest performing schools by focusing intensively on instructional improvement.

Findings show that average scores on the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) state tests increased in Learning Leaders schools in all four core subjects analyzed. The gains were statistically significant in science and history. The opposite occurred in comparison schools where scores in all four subjects declined. The initiative’s processes greatly increased instructional feedback and reflection, collaborative dialogue among principals and teachers, and the use of data to inform instruction. Both individual educators and entire schools became more effective.

The five-year study describes how Learning Leaders implemented explicit student growth target setting as well as teacher observations that focused on areas of classroom practice with highest payoff for student learning; provided tailored professional development for teachers and administrators—trainings and workshops as well as one-to-one coaching—based on needs revealed by analysis of student data and teacher observations; and implemented a performance-based compensation system that rewarded individual educators.

Stay the Course: Teacher and Principal Evaluation in Maryland

The Maryland State Department of Education is leading and supporting the implementation of a Teacher and Principal Evaluation (TPE) system in all school districts in the state. This report examines the progress Maryland has made during four years of TPE implementation, 2013 to 2016. It includes the direct input of nearly 35% of Maryland’s teachers and principals.

Key findings show educators’ perceptions of TPE are improving as they gain experience implementing all components of the evaluation system; principals and teachers still need support to implement TPE at a high level of effectiveness; and the districts that are making real progress in the consistency of quality implementation are doing so through concerted efforts to build principal and teacher capacity and to align TPE with the instructional framework and priorities of the district.

This report, prepared by CTAC and WestEd through the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center (MACC at WestEd), also includes recommendations which focus on strengthening leadership and further improving implementation at central and school site levels within Maryland’s districts.

Change in Practice in Maryland: SLOs and Teacher and Principal Evaluation

A new comprehensive study shows that Maryland is a national leader in implementing an educator evaluation system statewide.

CTAC and WestEd conducted this study through the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center (MACC at WestEd) to support the Maryland State Department of Education and all of Maryland’s districts.

This report examines the perceptions of frontline educators regarding the support they receive in understanding and implementing the Teacher and Principal Evaluation (TPE) system, and the use of Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) to measure student growth and improve instruction. The study includes the direct input of more than 30% of Maryland’s teachers and principals.

Drawing on three years of data, findings show that TPE implementation is generating changes in practice and perception. With each year of implementation, both principals and teachers are increasingly more positive about TPE.

Recommendations focus on ways to improve the quality, consistency and manageability of implementation within and across districts in Maryland. They are intended to help further inform and strengthen Maryland’s implementation of TPE overall and the SLO component in particular, and broaden the set of supports to frontline educators in the schools.

Real Progress in Maryland: SLOs and Teacher and Principal Evaluation

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is making significant strides in guiding and supporting the implementation of Student Learning Objectives as well as a teacher and principal evaluation (TPE) system statewide. This report examines frontline educators’ overall perceptions of TPE and key issues in implementation, including quality, consistency, and school, district and state support. The more experience frontline educators have with the new evaluation system, the higher their skill and comfort levels are with its implementation and the more their efforts focus on strengthening instruction. This report, which CTAC and WestEd prepared through the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center (MACC at WestEd), also includes recommendations which focus on ways to strengthen implementation within and across districts in Maryland, while reinforcing the instructional emphasis of TPE.

It’s More Than Money—Teacher Incentive Fund–Leadership for Educators’ Advanced Performance (TIF-LEAP), Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

It’s More Than Money is the final evaluation of a comprehensive, performance-based system initiative in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. CTAC’s evaluation demonstrates that high-quality Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) contribute to improving teaching and bolstering student growth. Findings show statistically significant multi-year improvements in growth rates for students of teachers with SLOs compared to those in peer schools without SLOs: 12% greater growth on average in math and 13% greater growth on average in reading.

This five-year study examines the genesis, development, and implementation of the SLO approach together with the incorporation of a value-added measure approach. It provides a study in the opportunities, complexities, benefits, and challenges that arise in measuring and compensating the impact of teacher effectiveness on student growth. It is a chronicle that draws one into the promise of performance-based compensation and a cautionary tale that alerts any district starting down this path that significantly more is at stake than money alone.

Focus on Rhode Island: SLOs and Evaluation

This study assesses and reports on the implementation of the new teacher evaluation system in Rhode Island. In particular, the analysis explains the concerns of teachers, principals and superintendents, and examines ways to build better understanding and more effective implementation of Student Learning Objectives (SLOs). The recommendations reinforce the integrity of the new evaluation system in Rhode Island, respond to needs emerging from the field, and increase the manageability of the new system.

Spotlight on Maryland: SLOs and Teacher and Principal Evaluation

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is a national exemplar in being transparent as it rolls out and supports a new teacher and principal evaluation (TPE) system statewide. This study focuses on how frontline educators perceive the development and implementation of the TPE system, particularly the support they received in understanding and implementing Student Learning Objectives (SLOs). Through the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center, CTAC and WestEd prepared this report for MSDE. The recommendations reinforce the instructional emphasis of the new TPE system and build on the foundation of support established to date by MSDE.

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