Teacher evaluations years away from completion

The state budget (HB 153) required all eligible teachers to be be evaluated using 50% student growth measures, by the 2013-14 school year.

Student growth measures may use value-added data that is calculated to determine whether a student achieves one year's worth of growth. But because the current value-added measure relies on data from statewide assessments, it can only be computed for reading and math education in grades 4-8.

That covers approximately 30% of Ohio's public school teachers. But before even those 30% can be measured, lots of training and data systems need to be put in place. By the end of this year, only 60% of those 30%, that is about 18% of Ohio's teachers, will have something in place.

72% of Ohio's teachers will not be in a position for the provisions in HB153 to be implemented by the end of this year.

It has taken significant costs, efforts and time to get to just 18% - and that was the "easy" part. Many districts have yet to begin to think about how to measure student growth for the other 70% of teachers. Social studies, the sciences, physical ed, art, and music are just some of the subject areas that will need measures developed, for all grades, in just 18 months from now.

"In areas where there are no state tests and where districts need to use local measures, you start getting down into issues around who pays for those measures, how are those measures administered, do they provide adequate information for the purposes of teacher evaluation, or are they even appropriate to use to create a growth measure from it."

That's not us saying that, that's Mary Peters, Battelle for Kids Senior Director of Research and Innovation. she raises a lot of big, important questions, to which there are no answers.

If there is a silver lining, it's that SB5 was defeated, which leaves teachers free to collectively bargain for an evaluation system that they feel can be the most fair within the framework prescribed.

We doubt that the 2013-14 year brings about a widespread breakout of effective teacher evaluations. Indeed, it is increasingly likely that there will be a patchwork system of half-baked systems throughout the state and districts will continue to struggle to fund and develop anything that is remotely workable.

On top of all that, research and evidence continues to demonstrate that teacher level value add is an inappropriate tool for making high stakes decinios such as evalautions and pay.