10 Models of Teacher Evaluation: The Policies, The People, The Potentialby David Silverberg, Linda Jungwirth
For the first time, school districts around the country are being required to adopt formal accountability measures to assess teacher effectiveness. In a radical shift, teacher quality will be based on outputs (student achievement; teacher observations) rather than inputs (years of service; degrees attained). This change in school culture and practice is an attempt
For the first time, school districts around the country are being required to adopt formal accountability measures to assess teacher effectiveness. In a radical shift, teacher quality will be based on outputs (student achievement; teacher observations) rather than inputs (years of service; degrees attained). This change in school culture and practice is an attempt to improve everything from individual student learning to national economic competitiveness. It also requires that administrators implement new and rigorous teacher evaluation programs that align with state and federal guidelines.
Busy administrators lack the training and experience necessary to quickly and efficiently craft a teacher evaluation system that successfully meets the needs of their district. Questions like “What is the best program for my district?” or “How do I get the teachers on-board?” are being asked by school leaders across the country. This book provides real-world answers by highlighting 10 diverse model programs from around the country.
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10 Models of Teacher Evaluation
The Policies, The People, The Potential
By David Silverberg, Linda D. Jungwirth
ROWMAN & LITTLEFIELDCopyright © 2014 David Silverberg and Linda D. Jungwirth
All rights reserved.
AUSTIN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT, TX (AISD)
DR. MERIA JOEL CARSTARPHEN, SUPERINTENDENT
We know that when students have quality teachers, they achieve at high levels. One way to ensure teacher quality is to monitor and evaluate our instructional talent. If we don't have the right evaluation tools, we undermine our own ability to ensure high student outcomes.
—Meria Joel Carstarphen, EdD, Superintendent AISD
Demographics—School Year 2012–2013
Size 230 square miles
Central Texas: City of Austin and Travis County
Schools 129 campuses
84 elementary schools
19 middle schools
16 high schools
10 special campuses
Teachers 5,863 teachers
Students 86,612 students
8.7% African American
Economically Disadvantaged 63.8%
Limited English Proficient 23.3%
District Four-year Cohort Graduation Rates
About the District
Austin Independent School District (AISD), serving students and families in the Texas state capital, is a diverse, urban school district serving approximately eighty-six thousand students in 124 schools. AISD is the fifth-largest school district in Texas, a growing district with shifting demographics. Over the past five years, the student population has grown more than 6%, and the English Language Learner population, currently comprising 29% of the student population, has grown by 35% over the same time period. AISD clearly communicates expectations of rigor, excellence, purpose, and best practices, resulting in great progress in increased student academic achievement and high-school graduation rates.
Leadership AISD leadership demonstrates a high value of transparency, collaboration, and inclusiveness that embraces voices beyond the district walls. Voices from parents, community, and students provide perspectives from Austin's diverse ethnic and socioeconomic populations. AISD's broad community coalition with deep commitment and support from the Austin Chamber of Commerce provides a rich and collaborative culture that embraces innovative practices, making AISD a leader among Texas school districts.
AISD's teacher evaluation model has yet to be officially named. AISD is engaged, with the support of the AISD Department of Research and Accountability, in what is called "the pilot teacher appraisal initiative." AISD's Office of Educator Quality guides the district work around the pilot teacher appraisal initiative, as well as other innovative pilots in the district. Ongoing research provides data that result in focused, intentional practices that are courageous and support the district's difficult decisions around educational reform. Given the importance of language as districts make difficult decisions and shift the culture of teacher evaluation, AISD leadership is intentional in using the language of "teacher appraisal" as opposed to "teacher evaluation." The language of "teacher evaluation" may carry unintended meaning because of past practices. AISD's intent in using the language of "teacher appraisal" is to convey a new meaning of reflection and self-assessment, collaborative appraisal of a teacher's practice, and shared responsibility in order to inform professional growth and educator effectiveness and ultimately to achieve significant student growth.
AISD's alignment to its mission to be "in partnership with parents and ... community ... to provide a comprehensive experience that is high quality, challenging and inspires all students to make a positive contribution to society" and its commitment to realize a vision to be "nationally recognized as an outstanding school district" have resulted in a teacher professional growth and appraisal system that has drawn national attention and recognition.
AUSTIN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT'S TEACHER EVALUATION MODEL TECHNICAL ASPECTS
Proportionality of Components Contributing to Teacher Evaluation
40% Teacher Performance
15% Administrator Observation
10% Administrator Walkthroughs
15% Peer Observations
40% Student Performance
20% Individual Student Learning Objective
10% Team Student Learning Objective
10% School-wide Value-added Data
10% Student Response Surveys
10% Professional Expectations
Summary The AISD pilot teacher appraisal initiative "includes multiple measures of student growth in one domain and thirty-nine competencies organized into four domains. The five domains are: (1) Student Growth; (2) Instructional Practice; (3) Classroom Climate; (4) Student Response Survey; and (5) Professional Expectations." AISD's model puts considerable weight on student growth (40%), based on individual, team, and school-wide data. Teacher performance is informed by administrator walkthroughs and a formal observation, as well as two peer observations. AISD's pilot teacher appraisal initiative provides opportunities for professional growth, and when in need, targeted and differentiated support and professional learning opportunities. In AISD's pilot teacher appraisal initiative, teacher evaluation is languaged as teacher appraisal, as we see in other teacher evaluation models such as Charlotte Danielson's framework for teacher effectiveness. As noted earlier, this shift in language is intentional to support moving AISD's culture to one of reflection and self-assessment, collaborative appraisal, and professional growth.
A key piece of AISD's teacher appraisal model is the district's investment in the development of materials and training to support teachers in deeply understanding how to craft rigorous, quality Student Learning Objectives (SLOs). SLOs are used to guide teacher practice and student assessment. Additional materials and training support teachers as they deepen their understanding and application of the ten competencies within Domain 2, Instructional Practice, and Domain 3, Classroom Climate.
Is Teacher Evaluation Connected to Pay-for-Performance?
Parallel yet separate from AISD's pilot teacher appraisal initiative is AISD REACH, a strategic compensation system that provides rewards and incentives for teachers and teams who (a) meet SLO goals, (b) who are self-directed in initiating communities of practice that focus on teacher effectiveness, and/or (c) who take on leadership roles that have a successful impact on student achievement. REACH is not tied to pay for performance, salary or step, or union contracts. REACH was designed in collaboration with the Austin Chamber of Commerce and Education Austin and has drawn national attention for its dynamic reward system that seeks to provide:
A quality teacher in every classroom, especially in Austin's high-needs schools;
Improved student learning at all schools and for all students;
Professional growth for teachers; and
Increased retention rates among AISD teachers and principals.
Foundations and Guiding Principles
Texas Education Code (TEC § 21.352) states that school districts need to evaluate teachers based on "observable, job-related behavior including: (1) teachers' implementation of discipline management procedures; and (2) the performance of teachers' students." Starting from this mandate, Austin proceeded to develop its own model, which was piloted in 2011–2012 on three campuses and then refined and expanded to twelve campuses for the 2012–2013 school year.
To create the initial version, Education Austin joined with teachers, principals, and central administrators to explore existing teacher evaluation models and develop a district-appropriate system. A broad spectrum of voices was invited, including campus advisory councils from across the district. The draft of the system was then offered to administrators and teachers for their open feedback, followed by a period of public comment. The AISD REACH Steering Committee then reviewed the collective feedback and made its final recommendation to the Board of Trustees. The pilot teacher appraisal initiative was approved on May 25, 2011. Once approved, the AISD pilot teacher appraisal initiative was separated from AISD REACH and a new pilot teacher appraisal committee was formed to guide the new initiative.
Feedback was again gleaned from principals, teachers, and central office administration to inform changes for the revised version of the model. AISD's pilot teacher appraisal model distinguishes itself from the Texas teacher evaluation model with a greater emphasis on student growth and a focus on three specific best practices: Instructional Practice, Classroom Climate, and Professional Expectations. These three elements provide the framework to guide effective practice and professional growth in AISD.
AISD's pilot teacher appraisal model incorporates the word "pilot," as AISD sees their teacher appraisal model as still in development and refinement. AISD's Research Division, as well as the teacher appraisal team led by Michael Houser, Chief Human Capital Officer/Human Resources Development, and Joann Taylor, Assistant Director, Strategic Compensation, are carefully monitoring feedback and implementation in order to refine processes and tools in support of the work of teacher appraisal.
The Big Picture
The AISD pilot teacher appraisal model assesses teachers using five domains of best practice and multiple designated competencies within each of the domains. The domains are as follows:
Domain 1: Student Growth
Domain 2: Instructional Practice
Domain 3: Classroom Climate
Domain 4: Student Response Survey
Domain 5: Professional Expectations
Teachers are evaluated using an eight-part formula with specific values:
40% Domain 1: Student Growth
Individual SLO 20%
Team SLO 10%
School-wide Value-added 10%
40% Domains 2, Instructional Practice and Domain 3, Classroom Climate
One Administrator Observation 15%
Two Administrator Walkthroughs 10%
Two Peer Observations 15%
10% Domain 4: Student Response Surveys 10%
10% Domain 5: Professional Expectations 10%
Teachers who are new to AISD, or who have been provided an opportunity to improve their performance through the development of an intervention plan, are not participating in the pilot appraisal initiative. Full-time program mentors provide professional development and support for teachers in their first, second, or third year of service. The Appraisal Period Timeline is also designed to support professional growth by building in reflections and observations during the early stages of the school year and self-assessments again at the end of the school year.
Appraisal Period Timeline
First twelve weeks:
Teacher Orientation and Self Reflections (first three weeks)
Observations (no earlier than three weeks following orientation)
Second and Third Twelve-week Periods
End-of-Year Reflections, Reports, and Conferences
In the AISD model, 40% of a teacher's evaluation rating is based on his/her performance on Domains 1 and 2, Observations of Instructional Practice and Classroom Climate; 10% from Domain 4, Student Survey Input; and 10% from Domain 5, Professional Expectations. Peers, appraisers, and teachers play key roles in the observational portion of the program that addresses Domain 2, Instructional Practice, and Domain 3, Classroom Climate.
Administrators as appraisers will conduct one forty-five-minute announced observation.
Administrators as appraisers will conduct at least two fifteen-minute walkthroughs throughout the year.
Peer observers will conduct two forty-five-minute unannounced observations.
Administrator appraisers will lead a preconference and end-of-year conference with teachers.
Peer observers will lead a preconference before observations begin and a post conference after each observation.
Teachers will complete a self-reflection at the beginning and end of the year.
The announced administrator observation provides 15% of a teacher's overall rating. The two administrator walkthroughs account for 10% of a teacher's overall rating. And the two peer observations account for 15% of a teacher's overall rating.
Domain 2 and Domain 3 provide rich material for districts seeking information about key competencies of instruction and classroom environment. Domain 2, Instructional Practice, highlights the following competencies:
Actively engages students during instructional activities;
Checks for student understanding and modifies instruction to address student misconceptions;
Differentiates instruction for student needs utilizing a variety of instructional strategies;
Develops problem-solving and critical-thinking skills for all students;
Sets rigorous academic expectations for students; and
Provides relevant and useful feedback to students.
Domain 3 offers the following descriptors of key competencies of the classroom environment:
Sets and implements classroom routines and procedures that support student learning;
Establishes and maintains standards for student behavior;
Creates a safe and secure classroom environment that is organized and engages students; and
Establishes a climate that promotes fairness, respect, and diversity.
Domain 4 and Domain 5 each count 10% toward a teacher's final evaluation score. Domain 4, Student Response Survey, provides students an opportunity to provide teachers with feedback on competencies within Domain 2, Observations of Instructional Practice, and Domain 3, Classroom Climate. Students have a choice of answering a five-tiered response based on a scale of Always—Sometimes—Not a Lot—Never—Don't Know. Sample survey questions may be found in AISD Teacher Evaluation System, 2012–2013, Appendix B. Sample questions from the student survey are listed below:
Question #1. This teacher asks us to share our thoughts.
Question #2. This teacher asks us to lead lessons.
Question #10. This teacher pushes everybody to work hard.
Question #15. This teacher does not allow students to break the rules.
Question #19. This teacher shows respect to all students.
Domain 5 assesses professional expectations via the following competencies:
Establishes professional goals, participates in professional development, and applies learning to practice;
Engages in meaningful collaboration to attain school goals and a positive campus climate;
Complies with district and school policies and procedures;
Fulfills professional responsibilities while modeling professional integrity;
Collects, tracks, and uses student data to develop lesson plans and assessments;
Designs objective-driven lessons and assessments that reflect the standards; and
Provides responsive communication to parents throughout the year.
Observation Process As noted earlier, AISD's pilot teacher appraisal model is designed for one scheduled forty-five-minute observation from an administrator, two unscheduled peer observations, and two unscheduled fifteen-minute administrator walkthroughs. AISD has developed a culture of trust in which peer observations are accepted as normal practice for schools participating in the pilot teacher appraisal initiative. Peer observers lead a preconference in September, and follow each of the two observations with a postconference. The administrator forty-five-minute observation is preceded with a preconference followed by an "observation conference" after the scheduled observation is complete. Given the delay in receiving school-wide data, a final, "summative conference" takes place in August or September after receiving and reviewing School-wide Value-added Measures.
Domain 1 focuses on student growth and accounts for 40% of a teacher's rating in the Austin model. This domain assesses individual student growth through the use of (a) Individual Student Learning Objective(s), (b) Team Student Learning Objective(s), and (c) the School-wide Value-added Measure. These measures are used to assess student performance over the course of the school year and vary in application because of the difference in teacher assignments related to tested/nontested subject areas, grade-level, and traditional classroom or nontraditional certificated assignments.
Excerpted from 10 Models of Teacher Evaluation by David Silverberg, Linda D. Jungwirth. Copyright © 2014 David Silverberg and Linda D. Jungwirth. Excerpted by permission of ROWMAN & LITTLEFIELD.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Dr. David Silverberg is a Telego Center Fellow with Ashland University’s Founders School of Continuing Education. He has his doctorate in Educational Leadership, Administration & Policy from Pepperdine University (CA) and his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University (CT). David spent 6 years as a full-time professor in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction in the Dwight Schar College of Education at Ashland University (OH), teaching courses in Methods and Contemporary Issues. David’s career also includes experience as a teacher and as an administrator.
Linda D. Jungwirth, EdD, an adjunct professor for the Pepperdine University Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy doctoral program, was recently recognized as the California 2013 Education Professor of the Year. Dr. Jungwirth’s experience includes service as a high school science teacher and district and county education administrator. Currently she provides consulting and professional development in transformational leadership for educators throughout the country. She is nationally and internationally known for her work in promoting equity and diversity through the lens of Cultural Proficiency. As president of Convening Conversations, Inc., Dr. Jungwirth provides consulting and training in Cognitive Coaching, Adaptive Schools, and Culturally Proficient Leadership that is focused on building trusting, inclusive, collaborative communities.
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