Educator Effectiveness Ratings
At the conclusion of the 2011-12 school year the first set of effectiveness ratings were posted to the mischooldata.org website and it was no surprise that the first group to be in the line of fire was building principals. The ratings were posted by district and the titles included: highly effective, effective and ineffective. There was little hype or fanfare surrounding the posting of these ratings- with the exception of building administrators who had no idea they had even been evaluated until they visited the website to take a guess at where their supervisor may have placed them on the continuum.
This year’s educator effectiveness ratings will be posted sometime next month and it is anticipated that this time the release of ratings won’t be so quiet. This year’s ratings on the mischooldata.org site will include all educators impacted by the new legislation from the superintendents to the curriculum directors, principals and teachers- all educators that are directly accountable for student achievement. Ratings for administrators will be posted by district and teachers will be categorized under school within the district.
Media outlets are likely to draw conclusions that do not take all of the various factors included in determining effectiveness ratings into account, as was already witnessed in a recent report issued by Ed Trust Mid-West: http://www.edtrust.org/midwest/press-room/press-release/new-report-givin...
Ed Trust took a very small sample and painted the results with a broad brush. As schools we have to anticipate that sweeping conclusions of this nature will be drawn if we are not prepared to explain our process and the methodology behind our decision-making. Every district should be preparing a press release in anticipation of this data being posted.
Questions to answer in your press release:
- Is the district under an existing contract or do your ratings reflect the new evaluation laws?
- What teacher evaluation framework is currently being utilized?
- Is there a percentage of student growth included? If so, how much and what assessments or performances are being measured?
- What other factors are given weight in the evaluation system?
- What training have your administrators had in conducting evaluations?
Additionally, schools must be prepared to respond if student achievement does not seem to mirror the effectiveness ratings of the teachers. It is also possible that media outlets will compare effectiveness ratings between districts drawing conclusions about percentages in the various categories in relation to student achievement. Being prepared with a response will provide the perspective needed for the public to understand that we are in the midst of unprecedented change and that we are working diligently to make strides toward improving evaluation practices and to showing gains in student achievement. From my work around the State I have no doubt that every school is engaged in this work and in creating a process that is fair, consistent and transparent. It is very complex work that will be evolving over the next several years as student growth measures continue to be developed…this is the story that needs to be told.