Measures of Student Growth: Arkansas

2017 General Teacher Prep Programs Policy

Goal

The state should require instructional effectiveness to be the determinative criterion of any teacher evaluation. The bar for this goal was raised in 2017.

Does not meet

Analysis of Arkansas's policies

Impact of Student Growth: Although recent legislation in Arkansas still requires the rules to "recognize that evidence of student growth is a significant part of the Teacher Excellence and Support System" and "ensure that student growth is analyzed at every phase of the evaluation system to illustrate teacher effectiveness," it appears Arkansas' policy does not necessarily require the inclusion of objective student growth measures in its teacher evaluations. Specifically, Arkansas requires the use of data as one of the multiple sources of evidence of a teacher's professional practice. However, data are defined as "teacher performance data, student performance data, or overall school performance data...[and] may include multiple measures of student growth, school quality, or student success." 

State's Role in Evaluation System: Arkansas districts must implement evaluation systems using the Teacher Excellence and Support System (TESS) as a blueprint. 

Citation

Recommendations for Arkansas

Require instructional effectiveness to be a determinative criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Arkansas should require that objective evidence of student growth be included in a teacher's evaluation rating, and that it plays a profound role in a teacher's overall evaluation rating. Specifically, a teacher should not be able to earn an overall rating of effective if he or she is rated less-than-effective at increasing student growth.

State response to our analysis

Arkansas recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state also provided additional information indicating that although student growth measures are no longer a standalone component in teacher evaluation, such measures may be considered as part of each of the domains that must be included in a teacher's overall evaluation rating.

Arkansas further indicated that it requires schools to use its adopted framework for teaching or an instrument that is substantially similar by meeting federal/state requirements and state board approval. Section 5.04 - 5.05 of the Educator Support and Development Rules will be placed on the State Board of Education regularly meeting schedule.

In a follow-up response, Arkansas reiterated that its Framework for Teaching has evidence (data, observations, and artifacts) of student growth measures embedded in the evaluation process. The state provides individualized student assessment data for tested content areas to districts and schools through the Student GPS Dashboard. 

How we graded

7A: Measures of Student Growth 

  • Student Growth: The state should require:
    • That districts use an evaluation instrument that includes objective student growth measures.
    • That the evaluation instruments used by districts are structured so that any teacher who is not rated as at least effective on measures reflecting student growth is not eligible to earn an overall rating of effective.
Student Growth
The full goal score is earned based on the following:

  • Full credit: The state will earn full credit if it requires teachers to achieve a student growth rating of at least effective in order to receive a summative rating of effective. 
  • Three-quarters credit: The state will earn three-quarters of a point if it requires teachers to earn a student growth rating that is greater than ineffective in order to earn a summative rating of effective. 
  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if it requires objective measures of student growth to count for at least 33 percent of the summative score, but it does not require teachers to meet their student growth goals in order to be rated overall effective.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if its evaluation instrument requires objective measures of student growth to count for less than 33 percent of the summative score, but it does not require teachers to meet their student growth goals in order to be rated overall effective.

Research rationale

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.[1] 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,[2] rich data and strong controls can eliminate error and bias.[3] 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.[4] Teacher evaluation instruments should include factors that combine both human judgment and objective measures of student learning.[5]


[1] Hanushek, E. A., & Hoxby, C. M. (2005). Developing value-added measures for teachers and schools. Reforming Education in Arkansas, 99-104.; Clotfelter, C. & Ladd, H. F. (1996). Recognizing and rewarding success in public schools. In H. Ladd (Ed.), Holding schools accountable: Performance based reform in education (pp. 23-64). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.; Ladd, H. F., & Walsh, R. P. (2002). Implementing value-added measures of school effectiveness: Getting the incentives right. Economics of Education Review, 21(1), 1-17.; Meyer, R. H. (1996). Value-added indicators of school performance. In E. A. Hanushek (Ed.), Improving America's schools: The role of incentives, (pp. 197-223). Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.; Braun, H. I. (2005). Using student progress to evaluate teachers: A primer on value-added models. Educational Testing Service.
[2] Rothstein, J. (2009). Student sorting and bias in value-added estimation: Selection on observables and unobservables. Education, 4(4), 537-571.; McCaffrey, D. F., Lockwood, J. R., Koretz, D., Louis, T. A., & Hamilton, L. (2004). Models for value-added modeling of teacher effects. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 29(1), 67-101.; Darling-Hammond, L., Amrein-Beardsley, A., Haertel, E., & Rothstein, J. (2012). Evaluating teacher evaluation. Phi Delta Kappan, 93(6), 8-15.; McCaffrey, D. F., Lockwood, J. R., Koretz, D. M., & Hamilton, L. S. (2003). Evaluating value-added models for teacher accountability. Monograph. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.
[3] Chetty, R., Friedman, J. N., & Rockoff, J. E. (2014). Measuring the impacts of teachers II: Teacher value-added and student outcomes in adulthood. The American Economic Review, 104(9), 2633-2679.; Ballou, D., Sanders, W., & Wright, P. (2004). Controlling for student background in value-added assessment of teachers. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 29(1), 37-65.; Chetty, R., Friedman, J. N., & Rockoff, J. E. (2014). Measuring the impacts of teachers I: Evaluating bias in teacher value-added estimates. The American Economic Review, 104(9), 2593-2632.
[4] Weisberg, D., Sexton, S., Mulhern, J., Keeling, D., Schunck, J., Palcisco, A., & Morgan, K. (2009). The widget effect: Our national failure to acknowledge and act on differences in teacher effectiveness. New Teacher Project.; Glazerman, S., Loeb, S., Goldhaber, D., Staiger, D., Raudenbush, S., & Whitehurst, G. (2010). Evaluating teachers: The important role of value-added. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution.
[5] Kane, T. J., Taylor, E. S., Tyler, J. H., & Wooten, A. L. (2011). Identifying effective classroom practices using student achievement data. Journal of Human Resources, 46(3), 587-613.; Taylor, E. S., & Tyler, J. H. (2012). The effect of evaluation on teacher performance. The American Economic Review, 102(7), 3628-3651.