It seems like every day I read where another school is using test scores to evaluate teachers. When I review these plans, almost every one of them has significant flaws in either design and/or planned implementation. Since I am a firm believer that student performance and measurable results should be reflected in educator evaluations (from teacher to superintendent), unlike most critics, instead of throwing stones I will share a draft of actionable solution. A. It’s not about raw test scores, it’s about value-added. Sorry educators who work with affluent, GT, Honors, and AP students, you have to be on the hook also. You don’t get credit for the fact that these students are already performing at a level of comparative success. Your evaluation has to be based on what you were able to do with all of that raw talent. B. I’ve yet to observe a district that has the internal focus and discipline to fairly evaluate teachers (based on value-added principles) who teach in non-tested grades and subjects. District developed end of course (EOC) exams could work. But, what district wants to show its public that along with struggling to meet the performance requirements of state mandated exams, that it is also has similar problems in grades and courses that no one has been watching? C. If teachers are accountable for student performance, then campus support staff (AP, counselor, etc.) has to be accountable for teacher team performance. The Principal has to be accountable for campus performance and Central Office has to be accountable for district performance. Here is fan equitable way to set up such a system. Campus support staff are evaluated based on the performance of the weakest teacher on their team. The Principal is evaluated based on both that floor and ceiling of student performance. Central office staff is evaluated based on the results of the lowest performing campus in the district. D. The critical variable in value-added evaluation is the performance of academically fragile student populations. E. There must be the recognition by the organization that state rankings are not equal. Take two “Recognized” campuses. School A with a 4% at-risk population and School B with a 70% at-risk population. In this case, the overall accomplishment of School B and it’s staff would be greater than School A. There should be additional reward for School B. F. Now for teachers, here is my simple value added performance evaluation.

  • Pass / Fail – Components of being a good employee (timely, reliable, professional, etc.) The teacher that can’t meet basic work expectations is a liability to the organization. Pass, continue the evaluation. Fail, terminate the employment relationship.
  • 20% – Components of being a good team member (participates, collaborates, communicates, etc.)
  • 20% – Components of being a good instructor (observable components of pedagogy, classroom environment, content expertise, data use, etc.)
  • 30% (or 0%, if prior year content area EOC is unavailable) – Improvement from the prior year content area EOC. District developed EOC is used in instances where state developed EOC is not administered.
  • 30% (or 60%, if prior year content area EOC is unavailable) – Performance on the EOC. District developed EOC is used in instances where state developed EOC is not administered.

Granted, the plan above isn’t perfect, but it is miles ahead of everything that I have reviewed. Mull it over for a while and then let me know what you think. Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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