There's plenty of calls for change in a study out Monday about Tennessee's new teacher evaluation system.
One of seven major recommendations from the study says two-thirds of Tennessee teachers could be able to opt for a smaller portion of their evaluations to be based on student testing data.
The report released Monday by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, or SCORE, was commissioned by Gov. Bill Haslam to review the state's new teacher evaluation system after questions from teachers, principals and schools directors in its first year of implementation.
The Republican governor asked lawmakers not to enact any changes to the evaluation system while the study was being conducted.
Fifty percent of teachers' evaluations are based on student testing data. But only about one-third of teachers teach subjects where value-added testing data is collected.
The SCORE report recommends that teachers in subjects or grades without specific testing data be allowed to reduce that component to 25% of their evaluation.
The SCORE report included these seven major recommendations:
Recommendation 1: Ensure current and prospective teachers and leaders receive sufficient training in the evaluation system.
Recommendation 2: Link the feedback that teachers receive with high-quality, collaborative, and individualized professional learning opportunities so that they can improve their instruction. Tennessee's teacher evaluation system needs to balance accountability for results with a focus on improving instruction, which is the key to improving student outcomes. To do so, the Department of Education and districts must provide meaningful professional learning opportunities and support to help teachers improve.
Recommendation 3: Address challenges with the current quantitative and qualitative measures of teacher effectiveness. Many of the issues that have arisen are not due to problems with the First to the Top plan for teacher evaluation, but rather from the remaining gaps in the development and implementation of measures of the evaluation system. We recommend these gaps in the quantitative measure and some missing elements in the qualitative measure be addressed as soon as possible. For example, we recommend the state offer teachers in non-tested grades and subjects (who do not yet have individual student growth, or value-added, data) the option of temporarily increasing the weighting of the qualitative portion of the evaluation.
Recommendation 4: Support school and district leaders in becoming strong instructional leaders capable of assessing and developing effective teaching – and hold them accountable for doing so.
Recommendation 5: Re-engage educators in those districts where implementation of the teacher evaluation system has faltered during the first year of work.
Recommendation 6: Integrate the ongoing implementation of the teacher evaluation system and the Common Core State Standards so that they work together to improve student outcomes. All of the approved evaluation models should reflect the shifts in instruction that will be required as Tennessee implements higher, more rigorous academic standards through the Common Core State Standards.
Recommendation 7: Drive continuous improvement of the teacher evaluation system at the state, district, and school levels. Leaders and educators must commit to improving the teacher evaluation system on an ongoing basis to maximize its impact on student achievement. For example, school districts should apply for flexibility from the Department of Education (an option currently available) to address their unique
Tennessee Education Association (TEA) President Gera Summerford who participated in the report said, "The recommendations are consistent with what we have been hearing from teachers, but we need more specifics."
She said there is not a "one-size fits all" approach to teacher evaluations.
"Administrators want the freedom, the flexibility to spend the amount of time needed to help teachers do their best, and that is not going to be the same amount for every teacher," added the TEA president.
Governor Haslam released this statement following the SCORE report:
"I appreciate SCORE's work in traveling the state and listening to feedback from educators on teacher evaluations," Haslam said. "We will review these recommendations along with the state Department of Education's internal review of the process, which is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.
"If we want to improve education in Tennessee, that starts with an effective teacher leading each Tennessee classroom," Haslam said. "This report is part of a comprehensive review of the teacher evaluation process. We want to support and reward effective teachers and are committed to making the evaluation system as strong as it can be."
Wednesday, May 22 2013 7:21 PM EDT2013-05-22 23:21:11 GMT
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