2011 Identifying Effective Teachers Policy
The state should publicly report districts' distribution of teacher talent among schools to identify inequities in schools serving disadvantaged children.
Providing comprehensive reporting may be the state's most important role for ensuring the equitable distribution of teachers among schools. Alabama does not report school-level data that can help support the equitable distribution of teacher talent among schools within districts.
Alabama does not collect or publicly report any of the data recommended by NCTQ. The state lacks a school-level teacher quality index that indicates the academic backgrounds of a school's teachers as well as the ratio of new to veteran teachers. Alabama also does not report on teacher absenteeism or turnover rates.
Alabama does report on the percentage of highly qualified teachers. However, these data are reported by district rather than at the school-level. Alabama also reports on the percentage of teachers on alternative or emergency credentials. However, these data are reported statewide rather than at the school level. The state is commended for comparing the average percentage of highly qualified teachers at high- and low-poverty schools.
Alabama's Education Report Card 2009-2010 http://www.alsde.edu/general/AlabamaEducationReportCard.pdf Alabama's School Profile Report Cards 2008-2009 http://www.alsde.edu/html/reports.asp?menu=reports&footer=general&sort=all
Use a teacher quality index to report publicly about each school.
A teacher quality index, such as the one developed by the Illinois Education Research Council, with data including teachers' average SAT or ACT scores, the percentage of teachers failing basic skills licensure tests at least once, the selectivity of teachers' undergraduate colleges and the percentage of new teachers, can shine a light on how equitably teachers are distributed both across and within districts. Alabama should ensure that individual school report cards include such data in a manner that translates these factors into something easily understood by the public, such as a color-coded matrix indicating a school's high or low score.
Publish other data that facilitate comparisons across schools.
Alabama should collect and report other school-level data that reflect the stability of a school's faculty, including the rates of teacher absenteeism and turnover.
Provide comparative data based on school demographics.
As Alabama does with highly qualified teachers, the state should provide comparative data for schools with similar poverty and minority populations. The would yield a more comprehensive picture of gaps in the equitable distribution of teachers.
Report data at the school level.
Alabama should ensure that it is reporting all currently collected data at the school-level, rather than aggregated by district.
Ensure that data are current.
It is important to keep data updated and current in order to provide the public with an accurate picture of teacher distribution across schools in districts. Alabama should update the data it reports on the percentage of highly qualified teachers at the school level, as the state has not done so since 2006-2007.
Alabama noted that the state collects and reports what it is required to report. To the U.S. Department of Education's Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN), the state reports school data on highly qualified teachers. More publicly, every Alabama teacher's highly qualified status is available for viewing via the Teach Alabama / Teach in Alabama portal.
Alabama pointed out that school report cards are published on the Alabama Department of Education website. The school report cards reflect the percentage of teachers by level of certificate and the percentage of teachers holding an Emergency Certificate. The report also includes the percentage of classes taught by non-HQ teachers by school system. Alabama does not currently collect data on teacher absenteeism.
The state commented that it is building a teacher effectiveness reporting tool, as required under the U.S Department of Education State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) grant. This will be expanded to include components such as: student performance measures, percentage of new teachers, teacher turn-over rates, the institutions from which teachers graduated and whether teachers completed traditional or alternative approaches to earning a certificate. However, Alabama will delay making a decision about what items to report publicly until ESEA is reauthorized.
Alabama added that although NCTQ suggests that it publish the percentage of teachers failing basic skills licensure tests at least once, only teachers employed on the basis of holding a one-year, non-renewable Emergency Certificate are not required to meet test requirements before receiving a certificate.
NCTQ encourages Alabama to consider additional ways to provide the public with meaningful data about teacher distribution. While it is no doubt helpful to the public to be able to see the HQT status of individual teachers, the public—and policymakers—cannot see whether high-needs schools have a disproportionate share of such teachers.