The state should require instructional effectiveness to be the preponderant criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Wyoming does not require that objective evidence of student learning be the preponderant criterion of its teacher evaluations.
However, the state recently passed legislation that now requires annual teacher evaluations based in part on student academic growth measures and on longitudinal data systems that link student achievement with teachers of record, "clearly prescribing standards for satisfactory and unsatisfactory performance."
The Teacher Accountability Act http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2011/Enroll/SF0146.pdf
Require instructional effectiveness to be the preponderant criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Although Wyoming's new legislation is a step in the right direction, it falls short by failing to require that evidence of student learning be the most significant criterion. The state 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. This can be accomplished by requiring objective evidence to count for at least half of the evaluation score or through other scoring mechanisms, such as a matrix, that ensure that nothing affects the overall score more. 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.
Wyoming should not only require that its evaluations include classroom observations, but also the state should specifically articulate that these observations focus on effectiveness of instruction. The primary component of a classroom observation should be 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, Wyoming 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.
Wyoming asserted that it articulates the requirement that teacher evaluation processes must include multiple rating categories.
The citation submitted by the state does not indicate that districts are required to utilize multiple rating categories in the evaluation process.