2017 General Teacher Prep Programs 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: Pennsylvania requires student performance to count for 50 percent of a teacher's overall evaluation rating. This half must be based on multiple measures of student achievement and be comprised of the following: building-level data (15 percent), which must include student performance on assessments, value-added assessment system data, graduation rates, promotion rates; teacher-specific data (15 percent), including student achievement attributable to a specific teacher as measured by student performance on assessments, value-added assessment system data, progress in meeting student goals; and elective data (20 percent), including measures of student achievement that are locally developed.
Pennsylvania does not 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. A teacher could earn zero points for student growth and still earn an overall rating of proficient. To earn a rating of proficient, a teacher must earn between 1.5 and 2.49 points (out of a total of 3 points). A teacher who earns the maximum points for observation and practice will earn 1.5 points, and therefore have sufficient points to earn an overall rating of proficient without any consideration of student growth.
Further, the state assigns overall ratings of satisfactory and unsatisfactory. Distinguished and proficient are considered satisfactory. Needs improvement is also considered satisfactory, except if the teacher gets another needs improvement rating within 10 years, and then it is considered unsatisfactory. To earn a rating of needs improvement, a teacher needs only between 0.5 and 1.49 points. Therefore, a teacher could earn zero points for student growth and only 0.5 points for observation and practice (out of a total of 1.5) and still earn an overall rating of satisfactory.
State's role in evaluation system: Pennsylvania's Teacher Effectiveness Tool is the evaluation tool used for all teachers in the state.
PA Bulletin Vol 43, No 25 June 22, 2013 Educator Effectiveness Administrative Manual: http://www.education.pa.gov/Documents/Teachers-Administrators/Educator%20Effectiveness/Educator%20Effectiveness%20Administrative%20Manual.pdf Student Performance Measures for Classroom Teachers FAQs: http://www.education.pa.gov/Documents/Teachers-Administrators/Educator%20Effectiveness/Student%20Performance%20Measures%20for%20Classroom%20Teachers%20FAQs.pdf
Require instructional effectiveness to be a determinative criterion of any teacher evaluation.
Although Pennsylvania 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. Pennsylvania 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.
Pennsylvania recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state reiterated that it uses a standard classroom teacher evaluation tool, except when local schools request to implement an alternative model that is as rigorous as the state's model. Pennsylvania's classroom teacher evaluation tool consists of the following:
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.