2019 Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policy
The state should require objective measures of student growth to be included in a teacher's evaluation score.
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.
Iowa convened a task force, The Council on Educator Development, to develop a statewide teacher evaluation system that includes "balanced consideration" of student growth measures, when available, for teachers of tested subjects and grades. It is unclear whether the state still utilizes the Council's recommendations published in its 2016 report.These recommendations indicate that 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.
State's Role in Evaluation System: Iowa provides some guidance for districts to support their design of evaluation systems.
Iowa Code 284.4; .6; and .8 Council on Educator Development Recommendations Regarding Educator Standards and Evaluation https://educateiowa.gov/documents/boards-committees-councils-and-task-forces/2016/10/council-educator-development
Require objective measures of student growth to be included in 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.
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.