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: Utah requires some evidence of student growth to be included in a teacher evaluation's rating.
Utah does not explicitly 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.
State's Role in Evaluation System: Utah districts develop teacher evaluation systems based on the state's criteria.
Utah Code 53A-8a-405 Administrative Rules R277-533
Require instructional effectiveness to be a determinative criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Although Utah 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. Utah 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.
Utah was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state also provided that it requires districts to include a student academic growth measurement, and that there are consistent components required of all educators, such that outcomes are comparable across the state. Utah also noted that the large majority of districts measure growth based on student learning objectives (SLOs).
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.