Measures of Student Growth: Arizona

2017 Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policy

Goal

The state should require instructional effectiveness to be the determinative criterion of any teacher evaluation. The bar for this goal was raised in 2017.

Meets in part

Analysis of Arizona's policies

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.

Citation

Recommendations for Arizona

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.

State response to our analysis

Arizona recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Updated: December 2017

How we graded

7A: Measures of Student Growth 

  • Student Growth: The state should require:
    • That districts use an evaluation instrument that includes objective student growth measures.
    • That the evaluation instruments used by districts are structured so that any teacher who is not rated as at least effective on measures reflecting student growth is not eligible to earn an overall rating of effective.
Student Growth
The full goal score is earned based on the following:

  • Full credit: The state will earn full credit if it requires teachers to achieve a student growth rating of at least effective in order to receive a summative rating of effective. 
  • Three-quarters credit: The state will earn three-quarters of a point if it requires teachers to earn a student growth rating that is greater than ineffective in order to earn a summative rating of effective. 
  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if it requires objective measures of student growth to count for at least 33 percent of the summative score, but it does not require teachers to meet their student growth goals in order to be rated overall effective.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if its evaluation instrument requires objective measures of student growth to count for less than 33 percent of the summative score, but it does not require teachers to meet their student growth goals in order to be rated overall effective.

Research rationale

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.[1] 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,[2] rich data and strong controls can eliminate error and bias.[3] 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.[4] Teacher evaluation instruments should include factors that combine both human judgment and objective measures of student learning.[5]


[1] Hanushek, E. A., & Hoxby, C. M. (2005). Developing value-added measures for teachers and schools. Reforming Education in Arkansas, 99-104.; Clotfelter, C. & Ladd, H. F. (1996). Recognizing and rewarding success in public schools. In H. Ladd (Ed.), Holding schools accountable: Performance based reform in education (pp. 23-64). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.; Ladd, H. F., & Walsh, R. P. (2002). Implementing value-added measures of school effectiveness: Getting the incentives right. Economics of Education Review, 21(1), 1-17.; Meyer, R. H. (1996). Value-added indicators of school performance. In E. A. Hanushek (Ed.), Improving America's schools: The role of incentives, (pp. 197-223). Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.; Braun, H. I. (2005). Using student progress to evaluate teachers: A primer on value-added models. Educational Testing Service.
[2] Rothstein, J. (2009). Student sorting and bias in value-added estimation: Selection on observables and unobservables. Education, 4(4), 537-571.; McCaffrey, D. F., Lockwood, J. R., Koretz, D., Louis, T. A., & Hamilton, L. (2004). Models for value-added modeling of teacher effects. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 29(1), 67-101.; Darling-Hammond, L., Amrein-Beardsley, A., Haertel, E., & Rothstein, J. (2012). Evaluating teacher evaluation. Phi Delta Kappan, 93(6), 8-15.; McCaffrey, D. F., Lockwood, J. R., Koretz, D. M., & Hamilton, L. S. (2003). Evaluating value-added models for teacher accountability. Monograph. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.
[3] Chetty, R., Friedman, J. N., & Rockoff, J. E. (2014). Measuring the impacts of teachers II: Teacher value-added and student outcomes in adulthood. The American Economic Review, 104(9), 2633-2679.; Ballou, D., Sanders, W., & Wright, P. (2004). Controlling for student background in value-added assessment of teachers. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 29(1), 37-65.; Chetty, R., Friedman, J. N., & Rockoff, J. E. (2014). Measuring the impacts of teachers I: Evaluating bias in teacher value-added estimates. The American Economic Review, 104(9), 2593-2632.
[4] Weisberg, D., Sexton, S., Mulhern, J., Keeling, D., Schunck, J., Palcisco, A., & Morgan, K. (2009). The widget effect: Our national failure to acknowledge and act on differences in teacher effectiveness. New Teacher Project.; Glazerman, S., Loeb, S., Goldhaber, D., Staiger, D., Raudenbush, S., & Whitehurst, G. (2010). Evaluating teachers: The important role of value-added. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution.
[5] Kane, T. J., Taylor, E. S., Tyler, J. H., & Wooten, A. L. (2011). Identifying effective classroom practices using student achievement data. Journal of Human Resources, 46(3), 587-613.; Taylor, E. S., & Tyler, J. H. (2012). The effect of evaluation on teacher performance. The American Economic Review, 102(7), 3628-3651.