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: Maryland requires student growth to account for a "significant" portion of a teacher's evaluation rating and to be one of the multiple measures used. No single criterion is allowed to comprise more than 35 percent of the overall evaluation rating. Maryland's default model requires 50 percent of a teacher's overall rating to be comprised of student growth. Maryland also provides a "local model," which requires student growth to count for 50 percent of a teacher's overall rating, with student assessment scores counting for 20 percent of that 50 percent. It is unclear whether Maryland requires these percentage weights in local evaluation systems in order to earn state approval.
For elementary and middle school teachers providing instruction in state-assessed grades and content, student growth consists of aggregate assessment ratings, student learning objectives, and the schoolwide index. For all remaining teachers, student growth consists of student learning objectives and the schoolwide index.
Maryland does not explicitly require that teachers meet student growth goals or be rated at least effective for the student growth portion of their evaluation to earn an overall rating of effective.
State's role in Evaluation System: Maryland districts may either adopt the state model or use the state's framework to develop their own model. Models developed by districts must be approved by the state.
COMAR 13a.07.09 Guidebook: http://archives.marylandpublicschools.org/tpe/TPE_Guidance_Version3_092013.pdf
Require instructional effectiveness to be a determinative criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Although Maryland 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. Maryland 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.
Maryland recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that its evaluation system and the regulations that govern it do not establish a priority rating for any of the five components, one of which is student growth.
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.