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: Tennessee requires, for teachers of tested grades and subjects, that 50 percent of their evaluation rating is derived from student growth measures. Of this 50 percent, 35 percent must be based on Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) from grades 3-8 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) and high school End of Course (EOC), and 15 percent must be based on achievement from one of the following: state assessments; schoolwide/systemwide TVAAS; ACT or SAT; "off the shelf" assessments; AP, IB, or NIC suites of assessments; industry certifications; and graduation rates.
For all teachers of non-tested grades and subjects in Tennessee, 30 percent of the evaluation score is comprised of student achievement data, with half based on growth as represented by TVAAS.
For teachers of tested grades and subjects without prior data, student growth may count for between 15 percent and 50 percent of the evaluation score.
Tennessee does not require that teachers meet student growth goals or be rated at least effective for student growth portion to be rated overall effective. To earn an "at expectations" (effective) rating, a teacher must earn between 275 and 349.99 points, which are calculated by multiplying the score (1-5) by each component's weight within the total evaluation system. If a teacher earns a top score on the observation component, that translates to 250 points (5 points multiplied by 50 percentile points). If that same teacher earned just one point on the student growth and achievement measure (one point by 35 percentile points and one point by 15 percentile points), the total evaluation score would come to 300 points. This would allow a teacher with the lowest student growth rating to earn an overall rating of "at expectations." A teacher can also be rated "above expectations" (highly effective) by earning a "below expectations" rating on both the TVAAS and achievement components of the evaluation system.
State's Role in Evaluation System: Tennessee provides a model, the Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model (TEAM), but districts may develop their own systems consistent with the state framework. Tennessee approves all district-developed evaluation systems.
Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policy 5.201
Require instructional effectiveness to be a determinative criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Although Tennessee requires that objective evidence of student growth be included in a substantial way in a teacher's evaluation rating, it does not play a profound role in a teacher's overall evaluation rating. Tennessee 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.
Tennessee 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.