Identifying Effective Teachers Policy
The state should require instructional effectiveness to be the preponderant criterion of any teacher evaluation.
New Mexico does not require that objective evidence of student learning be the preponderant criterion of its teacher evaluations.
New Mexico requires local districts to use a uniform teacher evaluation model produced by the state. The teacher evaluation instrument is a performance-based model, judging teacher performance on nine competencies, divided among three strands: instruction, student learning and professional learning.
Classroom observations are required alongside other data sources, such as student work portfolios, student achievement data and reflective journals to document teachers' mastery of the nine competencies. However, there is no guarantee that objectives measures of student achievement will be part of the teacher evaluation.
Recently, the state legislature failed to pass a measure that would have established an evaluation system based on student achievement. However, the governor has issued an executive order that will create a task force for the development and adoption of an evaluation framework.
New Mexico Administrative Code 126.96.36.199 (D-E) Guidelines for Performance Evaluation http://teachnm.org/experienced-teachers/annual-evaluation/annual-evaluation-guidelines-for-performance-evaluation.html
Require instructional effectiveness to be the preponderant criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Although New Mexico requires some evidence of student achievement, it is not clear whether the state requires objective evidence of student achievement for all teacher evaluations.
New Mexico 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 New Mexico 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, New Mexico 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.
New Mexico recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that under its new administration, it has developed a recommendation to the governor regarding tying 50 percent of an evaluation to achievement. The recommendation also includes limiting the length of licenses.