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: Montana does not require measures of student growth in its teacher evaluation system. The state requires the teacher evaluation system used by a school district to "include an assessment of the educator's effectiveness in supporting every student in meeting rigorous learning goals through the performance of the educator's duties"; however, there is no further specification that indicates that this requirement must include objective measures of student growth.
State's Role in Evaluation System: Montana districts develop evaluation systems based on some criteria set forth by the state. Montana provides model evaluation instruments.
Administrative Rules of Montana 10.55.701
Require instructional effectiveness to be a determinative criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Montana 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.
Montana 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.