The state should require instructional effectiveness to be the preponderant criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Minnesota stops short of requiring that objective evidence of student learning be the preponderant criterion of its teacher evaluations.
The state recently passed new legislation requiring that a teacher value-added assessment model count for 35 percent of teacher evaluation results. For grade levels and subject areas for which value-added data are not available, state or local measures of student growth must be established.
Districts may also apply to participate in an optional performance pay plan that includes a teacher evaluation system (Quality Compensation for Teachers or Q Comp) that requires classroom observation and evidence of student achievement gains as a measure of teacher performance.
Minnesota Statute 122A.40 Q Comp Teacher Evaluation http://www.education.state.mn.us/mdeprod/groups/QComp/documents/Instruction/008189.pdf
Require instructional effectiveness to be the preponderant criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Although Minnesota's new evaluation system 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 classroom observations specifically focus on and document the effectiveness of instruction.
Minnesota should not only require that all evaluations (rather than just the ones mandated for Q Comp) include classroom observations, but also the state should specifically articulate that these observations focus on effectiveness of instruction. The primary component of a classroom observation should be 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, Minnesota should require districts to utilize 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.
Minnesota was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.