New research from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) surveys teacher evaluation systems across the country, digging deep into progress made. Their analysis: too many states are implementing teacher evaluation systems where teachers can earn effective evaluation scores even if their students don’t grow. While the research acknowledges that no single measure, including student growth, should determine a teacher’s evaluation rating, the report warns that some state evaluation systems may not be designed to provide appropriate feedback to teachers. Specifically, if a teacher receives an effective summative evaluation score—even though his or her students did not grow—their evaluation score may not signal to the principal that they need specific support and development.
The report, “Running in Place: How New Teacher Evaluations Fail to Live up to Promises,” applauds the rise of reformed state teacher evaluation systems in recent years—up to 40 states in 2016 compared to 15 in 2009— but zooms in on 30 states where student growth is a significant factor in teacher evaluations, yet teachers are able to earn effective ratings even if students don’t grow.
The research recommends two steps to help calibrate state teacher evaluation systems:
- establish policies that preclude teachers from earning a label of effective if they are found ineffective at increasing student learning.
- identify where student growth measures and observation scores misalign, offering technical support or examining student growth models or calculations.
As states develop and prepare to implement their plans under ESSA, advocates have an opportunity to fuel the conversation around strengthening teacher evaluation, ensuring that state systems provide an accurate picture of effective teaching and are designed to help educators further hone their craft.
The report also includes a state-by-state analysis of evaluation system. Check out your state, and reach out if you’d like to connect with other leaders working to ensure great teachers for every student.