Identifying Effective Teachers Policy
The state should require instructional effectiveness to be the preponderant criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Hawaii does not require that objective evidence of student learning be the preponderant criterion of its teacher evaluations.
Hawaii has a statewide instrument for teacher evaluation in which teachers are assessed on how well they meet the five "duties of a teacher." These five duties include developing independent learners, providing a positive and safe learning environment, demonstrating professionalism, using assessment data and reflecting on one's teaching practice. The state requires classroom observations to determine how well a teacher is meeting the evaluation criteria and suggests that other data—lesson plans and grade books, for example—may be considered.
Hawaii's winning bid for Race to the Top funds includes a significant focus on teacher evaluation, coupled with the fact that the state has the advantage of being a single, unitary district. However, although its proposal initiates annual evaluations for all teachers and requires that student growth account for 50 percent of evaluations, Hawaii has no formal policy to ensure that these obligations will continue once the four-year grant period has expired.
Hawaii Revised Statutes 302A-638 Hawaii Standard Practices 5602 Hawaii Professional Evaluation Program for Teachers (PEP-T) http://sp.k12.hi.us/pdf/atch5602manual.pdf
Require instructional effectiveness to be the preponderant criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Hawaii should either require a common evaluation instrument in which evidence of student learning is the most significant criterion, or it should specifically require that student learning be the preponderant criterion in local evaluation processes. Whether state or locally developed, a teacher should not be able to receive a satisfactory rating if found ineffective in the classroom.
Ensure that classroom observations specifically focus on and document the effectiveness of instruction.
Although Hawaii commendably requires classroom observations as part of teacher evaluations, the state should articulate guidelines that focus classroom observations on the quality of instruction, as measured by student time on task, student grasp or mastery of the lesson objective and efficient use of class time.
Utilize rating categories that meaningfully differentiate among various levels of teacher performance.
To ensure that the evaluation instrument accurately differentiates among levels of teacher performance, Hawaii should require multiple rating categories, such as highly effective, effective, needs improvement and ineffective. A binary system that merely categorizes teachers as satisfactory or unsatisfactory is inadequate.
Hawaii asserted that its statute requires annual evaluations for all teachers. The state added that ZSI schools (Zones of School Innovation) have moved to common observation protocol as a first step toward statewide implementation.