The state should require instructional effectiveness to be the preponderant criterion of any teacher evaluation.
West Virginia does not require that objective evidence of student learning be the preponderant criterion of its teacher evaluations.
State policy requires local school districts to observe teachers in the classroom and evaluate them according to a list of performance criteria that include, among others, classroom climate, instructional management and student progress. Under student progress, teachers are expected to monitor and evaluate student achievement. While the guidelines require classroom observation to monitor teachers' success at meeting the performance criteria, the state does not mandate the inclusion of actual student outcomes.
During the 2011-2012 school year, West Virginia will be piloting in 25 schools, a revised evaluation system for teachers that includes student learning outcomes. Teachers must submit two student learning goals for review by November 1; a "distinguished" rating requires that at least one goal is met by May 15. Measures used to assess student learning progress must include two data points, be rigorous and be comparable across classrooms. Under the pilot, 5 percent of the overall score will be calculated using schoolwide data based on standardized assessments.
Require instructional effectiveness to be the preponderant criterion of any teacher evaluation.
West Virginia 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. 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 West Virginia 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, West Virginia 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.
West Virginia was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.