Teacher Evaluation and Effectiveness
Increased awareness of how much good teaching matters has led to a national momentum to find new ways to evaluate teaching. Many states and school districts are redesigning how teacher effectiveness is assessed, rewarded, and supported, efforts spurred or reinforced by Federal initiatives such as Race to the Top and the Teacher Incentive Fund. In many places, new approaches now require connecting student growth to teacher performance for ensuring accountability and improving professional practice.
CTAC's approach to teacher evaluation
CTAC has successfully engaged with many school districts and teacher unions on initiatives addressing teacher evaluation. CTAC’s assistance is premised on five key principles that affect design and implementation of teacher evaluation systems:
- States or school districts must have the capacity to implement the evaluation system, using existing organizational resources.
- Collaboration with educational stakeholders is essential from the inception and throughout the implementation process. Collaboration ensures the engagement and buy-in of teachers, school leaders, school board members, parents, students and constituency organizations.
- The evaluation system must be sustainable over time.
- Teachers and principals need to trust that the evaluation system is fair, focused on strengthening educators’ practice, and can be implemented at the school level with existing resources, management staff and appropriate training.
- There must be strong two-way communication. Misinformation or the lack of information on the intent and design of evaluation systems is likely to jeopardize the effort.
Essential elements of quality teacher evaluation systems
In developing teacher evaluation systems customized to meet locally defined needs, CTAC focuses on key design elements:
- Engaging key stakeholder groups in design and implementation;
- Developing a system of multiple measures that are valid, reliable and credible, ensuring alignment with state/district teaching and learning standards, and recommending appropriate weightings and cut scores;
- Projecting fiscal and human resources needed to sustain the teacher evaluation system;
- Developing, upon request, an evaluation system that can be aligned with a performance-based compensation system;
- Identifying and addressing relevant collective bargaining issues;
- Developing, upon request, a teacher career ladder aligned with the evaluation system; and
- Designing a research-based approach for evaluating the effectiveness of the teacher evaluation system.
Measuring a teacher’s impact on student learning
CTAC assistance helps states and districts to:
- Assess school district capacity to use student assessment data in a teacher evaluation system;
- Develop exemplars for measuring student growth for both tested and non-tested subjects;
- Identify assessment instruments: standardized and/or state tests, performance-based assessments, formative and/or benchmark assessments, adaptive assessments, and portfolios based on the client’s organizational capacity and requirements;
- Assess strengths and weaknesses of different measurement instruments and statistical methodologies;
- Define business rules, e.g., how to identify the teacher of record when student data are used as a measure of teacher effectiveness; and
- Create feedback mechanisms for student and parental input into the teacher evaluation model.
Drawing on the expertise of our cadre of nationally recognized educational leaders, CTAC has served as a technical expert on teacher evaluation systems to the U.S. Department of Education in its support to Race to the Top (RTTT) states. Notably, CTAC shares expertise with RTTT states on developing assessment measures in non-tested grades for teacher evaluation systems.
CTAC has also assisted states, districts and unions in designing, implementing and evaluating research-based teacher evaluation systems that are fair, transparent and manageable. Key examples include:
- assisting the Denver Public Schools in support of its ground breaking teacher evaluation and performance-based compensation initiative. Denver teachers approved the new teacher compensation system by a 3 to 2 margin. Denver voters approved a $25 million tax increase by a 3 to 2 margin to fund the new system.
- assisting the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) in implementing a Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) initiative to link teacher effectiveness, student growth and performance-based compensation. CMS’s TIF initiative was cited as a factor in its receipt of the 2011 Broad Prize.
If you would like assistance in evaluating, designing and implementing a teacher evaluation system, please contact CTAC at (617) 423-1444.