Teacher evaluation is a hot topic of discussion in Olympia, in local school districts, as an element of the competitive federal grant awards called Race to the Top and proposed changes to the federal reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. In Washington State, changes to teacher and principal evaluation are underway through a recently passed bill, Senate Bill 6696. CSTP wanted to gather the best thinking from Washington teachers about how to create a strong evaluation system that helps teachers continually get better at their practice in order to increase student learning.
CSTP held discussions with teachers from around the state and asked them to envision a teacher evaluation system that made sense to them as teachers and to their profession as a whole. As a springboard for conversation, we used a paper from Accomplished California Teachers (ACT). Washington teachers resonated especially with two principles articulated in the ACT document:
"Teacher evaluations must be sophisticated enough to match our understanding of teaching quality as it is manifested across the whole continuum of teacher development. The state should create an unambiguous continuum of expectations from pre-service teaching to accomplished practice. The standards of teaching practice selected as appropriate at each level of teacher development should guide evaluations while accounting for the requirements for successful teaching in the variety of unique contexts in which it occurs."
"Evaluations should be frequent, conducted by expert evaluators, including teachers who have demonstrated expertise in working with their peers. Evaluators at each juncture should be trained in the recognition and development of teaching quality, understand how to teach in the content area of the evaluated teacher, and know the specific evaluation tools and procedures they are expected to use. Evaluations should be accompanied by useful feedback, connected to professional development opportunities, and reviewed in evaluation teams to ensure fairness, consistency and reliability."
The Washington teachers recommended Washington's evaluation system include these features:
Click here to their recommendations in more detail.
Click here for links to National and Local Resources on teacher evaluation.
The read a summary of the latest research on the use of student growth measures in teacher evaluation, click here.