Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policy
The state should require instructional effectiveness to be the determinative criterion of any teacher evaluation. The bar for this goal was raised in 2017.
Impact of Student Growth: For all teachers in Arizona, student growth must count for between 33 and 50 percent of the overall evaluation rating. Arizona considers its teachers in two groups - group A and group B - for the purposes of evaluation.
For Group A teachers—those with available classroom-level student growth data that are reliable, aligned with the state's academic standards and appropriate to content areas—classroom data must account for between 33 and 50 percent of a teacher's overall rating. If available and appropriate, data from statewide assessments must be used as at least one of the classroom-level data elements. School-level data is optional, but if used, these data cannot account for more than 17 percent of a teacher's overall rating, with combined classroom and school-level data not totaling more than 50 percent. The total measure of academic progress must include a calculation of student growth, which must comprise at least 20 percent of a teacher's overall rating. State assessment data must be a significant factor in the student growth calculation.
For Group B teachers—those who have limited or no valid and reliable classroom-level student growth data—limited data, if they exist, must be incorporated but augmented with school-level data so that the sum is between 33 and 50 percent of a teacher's overall rating. If no data exist, then school-level data must account for at least 33 percent and may not exceed 50 percent of a teacher's overall rating.
Arizona does not explicitly require teachers to meet student growth goals to earn an overall effective rating. The definition of an effective teacher is one whose students "generally made satisfactory levels of academic progress." In fact, in the state's model rating tables, teachers need 85 points (out of a total of 120) to be rated overall effective. They can earn 80 points for top ratings in other components of the evaluation framework (i.e., performance and surveys), needing just 5 points (out of a possible 40) for student growth.
To be rated highly effective overall, teachers who earn maximum points on the performance and survey components would only need 28 points (out of a possible 40) for student growth to meet the highly effective threshold of 108 points.
State's Role in Evaluation System: Arizona districts develop evaluation systems based on criteria provided by the state.
Framework for 2016-17: https://cms.azed.gov/home/GetDocumentFile?id=57ed9958aadebe0bd08a76fa Rating Tables: https://cms.azed.gov/home/GetDocumentFile?id=57f6dbd5aadebf0a04b269dc
Require instructional effectiveness to be a determinative criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Although Arizona requires that objective evidence of student growth be included in a substantial way in a teacher's evaluation rating, it does not play a profound role in a teacher's overall evaluation rating. Arizona should ensure that a teacher is not able to earn an overall rating of effective if he or she is rated less-than-effective at increasing student growth.
Arizona recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
7A: Measures of Student Growth
Many factors should be considered in formally evaluating a teacher; however, nothing is more important than effectiveness in the classroom. Value-added models are an important tool for measuring student achievement and school effectiveness. These models have the ability to measure individual students' learning gains, controlling for students' previous knowledge and background characteristics. While some research suggests value-added models are subject to bias and statistical limitations, rich data and strong controls can eliminate error and bias. In the area of teacher quality, examining student growth offers a fairer and potentially more meaningful way to evaluate a teacher's effectiveness than other methods schools use.
Unfortunately, districts have used many evaluation instruments, including some mandated by states, which are structured so that teachers can earn a satisfactory rating without any evidence that they are sufficiently advancing student learning in the classroom. Teacher evaluation instruments should include factors that combine both human judgment and objective measures of student learning.