Tenure : Oregon

Identifying Effective Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should require that tenure decisions are based on evidence of teacher effectiveness.

Does not meet
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Tenure : Oregon results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/OR-Tenure--8

Analysis of Oregon's policies

Oregon does not connect tenure decisions to evidence of teacher effectiveness.

Teachers in Oregon are awarded tenure automatically after a three-year probationary period, absent an additional process that evaluates cumulative evidence of teacher effectiveness. Teachers must be regularly employed in a particular school district for the probationary period. However, the district board may provide for shorter probationary periods of not less than one year for teachers who satisfy the three-year probationary period in another Oregon school district.

Citation

Recommendations for Oregon

End the automatic awarding of tenure.
The decision to grant tenure should be a deliberate one, based on consideration of a teacher's commitment and actual evidence of classroom effectiveness. 

Ensure evidence of effectiveness is the preponderant criterion in tenure decisions.
Oregon should make evidence of effectiveness, rather than the number of years in the classroom, the most significant factor when determining this leap in professional standing.

Articulate a process that local districts must administer when deciding which teachers get tenure.
Oregon should require a clear process, such as a hearing, to ensure that the local district reviews a teacher's performance before making a determination regarding tenure. 

Require a longer probationary period.
Oregon should extend its probationary period, ideally to five years. This would allow for an adequate collection of sufficient data that reflect teacher performance. 

State response to our analysis

Oregon recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state added that recent passage of S.B. 290 provides a research-based foundation for performance evaluation that distinguishes levels of instructional proficiency. While the state does not currently address instructional proficiency directly in tenure decisions, implementation of the new system will provide the needed information to make informed decisions on tenure. 

Research rationale

Numerous studies illustrate how difficult and uncommon the process is of dismissing tenured teachers for poor performance. These studies underscore the need for an extended probationary period that would allow teachers to demonstrate their capability to promote student performance.

For evidence on the potential of eliminating automatic tenure, articulating a process for granting tenure, and using evidence of effectiveness as criteria for tenure see D. Goldhaber and M. Hansen, "Assuming the Potential of Using Value-Added Estimates of Teacher Job Performance for Making Tenure Decisions." Center for Reinventing Public Education. (2009).  Goldhaber and Hansen conclude that if districts ensured that the bottom performing 25 percent of all teachers up for tenure each year did not earn it, approximately 13 percent more than current levels, student achievement could be significantly improved. By routinely denying tenure to the bottom 25 percent of eligible teachers, the impact on student achievement would be equivalent to reducing class size across-the-board by 5 students a class.

For additional evidence see Robert Gordon, et al., "Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job," Hamilton Project Discussion Paper, Brookings Institute, March 2006.