The state should require instructional effectiveness to be the preponderant criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Indiana does not require that objective evidence of student learning be the preponderant criterion of its teacher evaluations.
Recent legislation requires school corporations to develop annual educator evaluations based on multiple measures that include student performance. Objective measures of student achievement and growth must "significantly inform" the evaluation.
In addition to a core professionalism rubric, the state's model rubric includes three domains: purposeful planning, effective instruction and teacher leadership. The state evaluation rubric (RISE) and alternative models will be piloted in the fall of 2011. Information from the Indiana Teacher Effectiveness Pilot will be used to fine-tune the model. Scoring of the state's rubric has yet to be determined.
Further, Indiana's new legislation now commendably requires classroom observations, and evaluators must utilize the following multiple rating categories: highly effective, effective, improvement necessary and ineffective.
Indiana Code 20-28-11-3 Senate Enrolled Act No. 1 http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2011/PDF/SE/SE0001.1.pdf Press Release: "Local School Corporations Will be First to Implement Evaluation Tools" http://www.doe.in.gov/news/2011/05-May/TeacherEffectivenessPilot.html
Require instructional effectiveness to be the preponderant criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Although Indiana's requirement that objective measures of student achievement and growth must "significantly inform" the evaluation is a step in the right direction, it falls short by failing to require that evidence of student learning be the most significant criterion. The state 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. This can be accomplished by requiring objective evidence to count for at least half of the evaluation score or through other scoring mechanisms, such as a matrix, that ensure that nothing affects the overall score more. Whether state or locally developed, a teacher should not be able to receive a satisfactory rating if found ineffective in the classroom.
Ensure that evaluations also include classroom observations that specifically focus on and document the effectiveness of instruction.
Although Indiana now 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.
Indiana posed the question regarding the difference between significant and preponderant. The state asserted that NCTQ was splitting hairs and that it deserved more credit for this goal.
Although Indiana's requirement that objective measures of student growth be a significant part of teacher evaluations is a step in the right direction, the state cannot guarantee that it will be the most significant component. The only way to ensure this is to mandate that objective measures of student growth be the preponderant criterion. NCTQ sees this as considerably more than hair splitting. The point is that a teacher should be unable to get an overall effective rating if he or she is not effective in terms of student performance, which could happen if student learning need only be included to a district-defined "significant" extent. Only an evaluation system where student learning is the preponderant criterion ensures that this will not happen.