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: Rhode Island requires 30 percent of a teacher's overall evaluation rating to be comprised of student growth. Rhode Island measures contributions to student progress toward academic goals and learning standards (student learning objectives [SLOs]).
Rhode Island does not require that teachers meet student growth goals or be rated at least effective for the student growth portion of their evaluation to earn an overall rating of effective. Teachers may earn an overall rating of effective even if they do not meet either of their SLOs. To earn an overall rating of effective, teachers must earn between 295 and 359 points. If a teacher earns the most points possible for the other 3 criteria (classroom environment: 100 points; instruction: 100 points; and professional responsibilities: 80 points), then this teacher only needs 15 points to reach the effective threshold. A teacher earns 30 points for not meeting either SLO.
State's Role in Evaluation System: Rhode Island has developed the Rhode Island Model, but districts may design their own system with state approval. However, district-developed systems must adopt the state model for SLO ratings.
2016-2017 Handbook: http://www.ride.ri.gov/Portals/0/Uploads/Documents/Teachers-and-Administrators-Excellent-Educators/Educator-Evaluation/Guidebooks-Forms/Teacher_Guidebook_2015-16.pdf
Require instructional effectiveness to be a determinative criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Although Rhode Island requires that objective evidence of student growth be included in a teacher's evaluation rating, it does not play a profound role in a teacher's overall evaluation rating. Rhode Island should ensure that a teacher is not able to earn an overall rating of effective if he or she is rated less-than-effective at increasing student growth.
Rhode Island 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.