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: Connecticut requires that 45 percent of a teacher's evaluation rating must be based on attainment of between one and four goals and/or objectives for student growth. Standardized student test scores may not be used in the calculation of the overall rating for a teacher.
Connecticut does not require that teachers meet student growth goals or be rated at least effective at increasing student growth to be rated overall effective. The state provides a sample scoring matrix in its System for Education Evaluation and Development (SEED) model. Teachers with a student outcomes score of two (partially meets) can still be rated overall proficient if they earn a rating of three or four on teacher practice. A score of two means that some of a teacher's students met the target, but a notable percentage of students missed the target by more than a few points. If a teacher gets a one (does not meet) on student outcomes and a four on teacher practice, the teacher's evaluator must "gather further information" before deciding on an overall score, thus leaving the door open for a proficient rating.
State's Role in Evaluation System: Connecticut districts must develop teacher evaluation systems consistent with the state's guidelines. Connecticut's SEED model is aligned with these guidelines. Districts must submit evaluation plans for review and approval by the state.
Guidelines for Educator Evaluation: http://www.connecticutseed.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/CT_Guidelines_for_Educator_Evaluation_Updated_2015.pdf SEED Handbook (sample state model): http://www.connecticutseed.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/2015_SEED_Handbook_11_24_15.pdf
Require instructional effectiveness to be a determinative criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Although Connecticut requires that objective evidence of student growth be included in a teacher's evaluation rating, it does not play a profound role in a teacher's overall evaluation rating. Connecticut 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.
Connecticut was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state also provided that most district plans already require the use of student learning objectives for the student growth component of their teacher evaluation systems. Connecticut added that it accepts amendments to currently approved teacher evaluation plans on a rolling basis.
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.