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: Iowa does not require measures of student growth in its teacher evaluation system. Local districts are responsible for the development of teacher evaluations, although the state provides some guidance. Iowa requires that its districts' teacher evaluation systems take into consideration classroom observations as well as a review of teachers' individual career development plans to determine whether teachers are meeting the state's teaching standards. Student growth goals are tracked on teacher evaluations, but there is no indication that these goals must be connected to objective measures of student growth or the extent to which they will be included in a teacher's overall evaluation rating. Iowa has convened a task force to develop a statewide teacher evaluation system that includes "balanced consideration" of student growth measures, when available, for teachers of tested subjects and grades.
State's Role in Evaluation System: Iowa provides some guidance for districts to support their design of evaluation systems.
Iowa Code 284.4; 284.6; 284.8 https://www.educateiowa.gov/council-educator-development
Require instructional effectiveness to be a determinative criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Iowa should require that objective measures of student growth be included in a teacher's evaluation rating, and that such measures play a profound role in a teacher's overall evaluation rating. Specifically, a teacher should not be able to earn an overall rating of effective if he or she is less-than-effective at increasing student growth.
Iowa 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.