2011 Identifying Effective Teachers Policy
The state should require instructional effectiveness to be the preponderant criterion of any teacher evaluation.
North Carolina does not require that objective evidence of student learning be the preponderant criterion of its teacher evaluations.
Until recently, state policy required that teachers be evaluated based on five standards: demonstrates leadership, establishes a respectful environment for diverse students, knows the content, facilitates learning for students and reflects on practice. As of July 2011, North Carolina has added a sixth standard requiring teachers to contribute to the academic success of students. "The work of the teacher results in acceptable, measurable progress for students based on established performance expectations using appropriate data to demonstrate growth."
However, probationary teachers must only receive a rating of "Proficient" on the five standards to be recommended for career status. In addition to observation, evaluators may use other relevant sources of performance evidence such as lesson plans, formative assessments and student work.
Interestingly, North Carolina outlines multiple rating categories (e.g., developing, proficient, accomplished, distinguished, not demonstrated); however, the state only requires that they be applied to teachers' performance when evaluating standards one through five. It is unclear whether this requirement is intentional or an oversight.
Board of Education Policy Manual, TCP-C-004, -006 http://sbepolicy.dpi.state.nc.us/ North Carolina Teacher Evaluation Process http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/docs/profdev/training/teacher/teacher-eval.pdf
Require instructional effectiveness to be the preponderant criterion of any teacher evaluation.
North Carolina 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.
Although North Carolina 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.
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, North Carolina 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.
North Carolina was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.