How to Properly Deploy a New Teacher Evaluation System

Like Tennessee, Kentucky has a new teacher evaluation model — The Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES). Similar to reforms in Tennessee, the new model uses multiple measures to evaluate teachers, including classroom observation and student growth.

Unlike Tennessee, Kentucky has rolled out its new evaluation in phases, improving it along the way based on feedback from teachers and administrators.

Here’s a description of how the model, to be fully implemented in 2014-15, has been rolled out:

During the 2012-2013 school year, over 50 school districts in Kentucky have participated in a field test of the new system.  The field test has allowed educator experience and feedback to inform improvements prior to the statewide pilot during the 2013-2014 school year.  During the statewide pilot in 2013-2014, as least 10% of the schools in each district will implement the Professional Growth & Effectiveness System.  In 2014-2015 the system will be fully implemented statewide with full accountability in Spring 2015.

That’s two years of pilot work before a single teacher is held fully accountable for the results of the new system.  Of course, those evaluated get the chance to have their practice informed by the strengths of the new system. But they also are not held back by problems that may need reform or improvement.

Contrast that with Tennessee, which implemented a new evaluation system in 2011-12.  Teachers were responsible for meeting the evaluation standards immediately.  There was no statewide pilot, no partial implementation, testing, and then improvement.  The evaluation has been changed or “improved” along the way, but that process has caused confusion as the standard by which teachers are evaluated seems to change from year to year.

Yes, there are strengths to evaluating teachers through multiple measures. Certainly, the old evaluation system warranted improvement.  But the implementation process directed by the Department of Education failed to adequately take into account teacher and administrator feedback. A more measured approach, as seen in Kentucky, could have helped build educator support and buy-in and could have improved the process without the fear that comes with instant accountability for a previously unused standard.

It’s not too late for Tennessee to “re-launch” it’s evaluation process in light of new Common Core tests.  A suspension of the use of TVAAS for teacher evaluation, as called for by PET and others could allow the state to re-examine the evaluations and phase-in improvements, fully implementing the new system as Common Core tests replace the old TCAP and EOC tests.

Doing so would require a step back from the rapid pace of recent reforms in the state. But the best way forward is not always the fastest. Tennessee would do well to emulate our neighbors, slow down, and focus on getting education reform right.

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3 thoughts on “How to Properly Deploy a New Teacher Evaluation System

  1. The Kentucky ed department has done a much better job than Tennessee. The way TN has rolled out our new evaluation system was ill-prepared at best. Tennessee did not use the basics of teaching, including breaking new knowledge into parts and gradually build an understanding.

  2. That’s inaccurate Andy and you know it.

    “That’s two years of pilot work before a single teacher is held fully accountable for the results of the new system.”

    Teachers have had TEAM ratings assigned to them in TN, yes, but the SBOE policy w/ licensure changes was passed just last August 2013, and wouldn’t go into effect UNTIL the 2015-16 school year.

    Did you bother reading this?

    2010-11 they field tested 4 different observation rubrics. Implementation statewide was 11-12, and again, SBOE did not change licensure renewal until August 2013. If you read their changes, a teacher still had 6 years before they could lose their job (non renewed for licensure) for being ineffective w/ a licensure change that was really a low bar of measurement.

    Did you bother to look at that, how the licensure policy worked?

    That is the meaning of fully accountable – performing poorly for students and subsequently losing your professional position.

    But it’s clear you don’t care about that, you’d rather perpetuate the status quo and do so by false reporting. I’ve seen no suggestions or posts from you about how to establish a rigorous and meaningful teacher evaluation system that is focused on cultivating outstanding teaching FOR THE PURPOSE OF student outcomes.

    KY’s eval changes were spurred by RTT funding they won a year after Tennessee. One might opine that TN is acting much more urgently to place the best interests of STUDENTS ahead of adults and job security, by getting on with their teacher eval system. And yes, “not fully accountable” until many years after the eval system was established for teachers.

    When will the first year be that KY (which had most of their NAEP scores stagnate or go backwards) will actually have it so that teachers are “fully accountable” with this new eval system? 10 years from now? How many students will be subject to low performing teachers in that time?

  3. You are confused again. I am talking about the pilot project for teacher evaluation, not the licensure policy. You have been confusing the two lately.

    After RTTT, some TN lawmakers and TEA suggested a pilot project to build on/improve the new eval system. Unless by full accountability, you mean licenses MUST be at risk.
    Because the TEAM ratings impacted teachers in TN right away. In terms of tenure status, in terms of future evaluations, now pay.

    Your assumption seems to be that a significant # of “status quo” teachers are “low performing.”
    I reject that premise.

    Of course, you also engage in a flippant analysis of NAEP data.

    KY continues to score higher than TN on NAEP. And long-term trends suggest TN has lots of ground to make up.

    I know you don’t like long-term trend analysis because it doesn’t fit your prescribed “reforms.”

    It is also unfortunate that you suggest that the only student outcomes worth anything can be determined by test scores.

    I have suggested to you, in person, the use of a peer review system that includes the use of data among other measures in order to “meaningfully” evaluate teachers.

    I regret that instead of engaging in constructive dialogue after our face-to-face meeting you continue to accuse me of “false reporting.”

    I am sorry that my presentation of facts does not align with your perspective.

    Fortunately for you, your views are the “status quo” and “mainstream” in education policy today.

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