Making The Mandate Work For Both Teachers And Students

We were lucky enough to snag the latest edition of the the Ohio Education Association's (OEA) Ohio Schools magazine. It has a lot of great stuff in it, but one article we want to pull out and republish.

HB 153 And The Ohio Teacher Evaluation Framework - Making The Mandate Work For Both Teachers And Students*

Recent research, especially The new Teacher Project’s controversial The Widget Effect that criticizes many current teacher evaluation practices, has brought to national policy-makers’ attention a fact that educators have known for quite some time—most teacher evaluations are poorly designed, are irregularly and sometimes unfairly implemented, and provide little useful information about teacher performance for either teachers or their evaluators. This national wave of teacher evaluation reform includes federal initiatives like Race to the Top and state-level policy changes. Ohio is one of the many states that have addressed the issue through new legislation and one of 13 states that now require student performance as a significant factor in teacher evaluation.

House Bill 153 (hB 153), signed into law on June 30, 2011, significantly changes the way teachers in Ohio will be evaluated. hB 153 creates mandates at both the state and local level that will shape teacher evaluation policy development and teacher evaluation practices and procedures over the next several years. NeA and OeA have long advocated for teacher evaluation systems that are reliable, valid and focused on helping all teachers become more effective. It’s true that hB 153 presents many challenges; however, the legislation also requires that local teacher evaluation policy be developed in consultation with the district’s teachers, representing an opportunity for OeA members to make substantive and transformative changes in their districts. And if local associations commit to take the lead as the architects of this process in each district, they can build high-quality local teacher evaluation systems that work for teachers and students and strengthen the teaching profession.

The state board followed by adopting the framework below in November 2011. This framework must form the foundation for all locally developed evaluation systems as well as the Ohio Teacher evaluation System (OTeS) Model.

in the state framework, 50 percent of each teacher’s evaluation will be based on multiple student growth measures.

Teachers will be assigned a student growth rating (Below, expected, Above) based on the level at which they meet the student growth standard of one year’s growth in one year’s time.

If value-added data is available for a teacher, it must be used as one of the student growth measures. Additional assessments to determine student growth will be identified by the Ohio Department of education (ODe), and they will also provide guidelines for locally created measures of student growth. ODe will develop guidance for the specific categories of student growth measures that can be used by each district for teachers in both tested and untested grades and subjects. The approved assessment list and guidance will be available in June 2012, and information about using student growth measures will be addressed in an upcoming issue of Ohio Schools.

The other 50 percent of the evaluation will be calculated from multiple measures of teacher performance based on the seven Ohio Standards for the Teaching Profession.

Teachers will be assigned a rating (Accomplished, Proficient, Developing, Ineffective) based on the multiple measures included in the local evaluation system. Districts will need to determine how teachers provide evidence relative to each of these standards in their locally developed evaluation policies, processes and procedures. Observation is the one measure that is required by law; however, many aspects of teaching (collabora- tion, communication, professional growth) cannot be effectively evaluated through classroom observation, so districts will need to create tools that will allow teachers to provide evidence of their practice in these areas.

A final summative evaluation rating will be assigned to each teacher based on the following matrix that combines the ratings in Student growth Measures and Teacher Performance. (See graphic above.)

Evaluators and credentialing

Ohio Revised Code (Section 3319.111) requires that a person who evaluates a teacher must hold the following licenses or designation:

  • superintendent
  • assistant superintendent
  • Principal
  • Vocational director
  • supervisor
  • Person designated to conduct evaluations under an agreement providing for peer review (Par)

Under the new state framework, one of the most significant changes to how teacher evaluation is conducted in Ohio is that upon implementation of the revised teacher evaluation system, every district evaluator must be credentialed in addition to having the appropriate license or PAR designation. This means that having one of the licenses or PAR designation above is no longer the sole criterion to be an evaluator.

The credentialing process will be a three-day face-to-face training in which evaluators view a variety of teaching videos and learn to score accurately and with fidelity using the OTeS observation rubric. following the training, evaluators will then need to pass an online assessment that requires them to observe a teaching segment and rate the teacher within an acceptable range on the rubric to be fully credentialed. Districts are free to adopt or develop models and tools of their own (e.g. Danielson, Marzano and others), but all of the state training will be conducted using the OTeS observation rubric.

The Ohio Department of education (ODe) is in the process of selecting a company to develop the online assessment and will spend the spring of 2012 training state trainers who will provide the evaluator credential- ing training regionally beginning in June 2012. The training roll out will be similar to the training for Resident educator mentors. Training will be offered free of charge in the first year. Race to the Top districts that plan to implement revised evaluation systems prior to 2013 should take advantage of training this year. In subsequent years, there will likely be a cost for the training.

evaluators will need to be periodi- cally add terms for a person and reassessed, and once the initial train- ing has rolled out, ODe will begin work on developing those compo- nents. The credentialing process fills a great void in many districts where administrators who evaluate teachers have little or no training in how to observe and use observation evidence to rate teacher performance.

Student growth measures and evaluator selection

The state framework also contains provisions regarding a teacher’s selection of credentialed evaluators based on the Student Growth Measure rating earned by that teacher. Please note that this is not based on the Teacher Performance rating or overall summative rating, but the Student Growth Measure rating only.

  • teachers with above-expected levels of student growth will develop a professional growth plan and may choose their credentialed evaluator for the evaluation cycle.
  • teachers with expected levels of student growth will develop a profes- sional growth plan collaboratively with the credentialed evaluator and will have input on their credentialed evaluator for the evaluation cycle.
  • teachers with below-expected levels of student growth will develop an improvement plan with their credentialed evaluator. the administration will assign the credentialed evaluator for the evaluation cycle and approve the improvement plan.

Next steps Although the deadline for adopting a local policy is July 1, 2013, there is a great deal of work that needs to be underway, as soon as possible, for districts to be able to meet the requirements in both hB 153 and the state-adopted framework. The local association must prepare now to take the lead in bargaining and building the local evaluation system and ensuring it is implemented fairly and effectively. Race to the Top districts should have a local Scope of Work that outlines the processes and timelines for evaluation reform work through 2013-2014. districts that are not participating in Race to the Top will need to begin the work in order to have their policy in place and ready for implementation by the deadline.

Below are some general steps to consider as you look forward to bargaining revisions in your current teacher evaluation system.

  • identify and engage a district evaluation team, including teachers from various grade levels, content areas, specialty and non-classroom assignments
  • review and analyze current teacher evaluation policies, procedures and practices
  • conduct ode evaluation gaP analysis n review effective evaluation models including the otes (revised version will be available June 2012)
  • select/develop a district evaluation system and tools
  • Map and develop local student assessments that will provide student growth data
  • create local training on the new system for evaluators and teachers
  • construct a pilot timeline (one evaluation cycle)
  • send evaluators for credentialing training
  • have volunteer teachers and evaluators pilot the system
  • review and revise the system based on pilot data
  • implement the new evaluation system

The timeline for developing local evaluation policy and a highly effective teacher evaluation system to go along with it is short, and some Race to the Top districts may be on an accelerated schedule depending on the timeline in their local Scope of Work. It is imperative that local leaders take the initiative to move teacher evaluation work forward in their districts. The stakes are high, and OEA is committed to lead the way in advocating for public education, public educators and the learners we serve by promoting and supporting high-quality teacher evaluation systems that work for teachers and students.

*Remember any changes to the local teacher evalution system must be made through the collective bargaining process.

State requirements

hB 153 required the state board of education to develop a standards-based framework for teacher evaluation by december 31, 2011, that includes the following nine elements (orc 3319.112):
1. Provides for multiple evaluation factors, including student academic growth that counts for 50 percent of each evaluation
2. is aligned with the ohio standards for the teaching Profession
3. requires at least two formal observations of the teacher by the evaluator of at least 30 min- utes in addition to classroom walkthroughs*
4. assigns a rating on each evaluation of accomplished, Proficient, developing or ineffective
5. requires each teacher to be provided with a written report of the results of the teacher's evaluation
6. identifies measures of student academic growth for grade levels and subjects for which value-added data is not available
7. implements a classroom-level, value-added program developed by a nonprofit organization
8. Provides for professional development to accelerate and continue teacher growth and provide support to poorly performing teachers
9. Provides for the allocation of financial resources to support professional development
*the ohio department of education is defining “classroom walkthrough” as an informal observation less than 30 minutes in length. this is not the classroom walkthrough system utilized by many districts for gathering formative assessment information at the building level to guide professional development.

Local district requirements

hB 153 requires all public school districts to revise their teacher evaluation systems to align to the state framework described above. The local association must become the lead architect in bargaining and updating or rebuilding the local system. Some districts may have teacher evaluation systems in place that need minimal changes in order to align with new requirements, and some districts may choose to adopt the Ohio Teacher evaluation System model. Regardless, all districts will have to include student growth measures as 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation in addition to meeting all of the requirements below (ORC 3319.111):
1. Local boards of education have until July 1, 2013, to adopt a standards- based teacher evaluation policy that conforms to the framework above.
2. the policy shall become operative at the expiration of any collective bargaining agreement covering teachers employed by the board that is in effect as of september 29, 2011 (the effective date of the legislation) and must be included in any renewal or extension of such an agreement.
3. Measures of student academic growth must include value-added data if it is available. for teachers in untested grades and subjects, the board will administer assessments on the list developed by ode or local student growth measures that follow the state guidelines (not yet available).
4. the board is required to evaluate every teacher at least once each year to be completed by the first day of april. the teacher must receive a written report of the results of the evaluation by the 10th day of april.
5. if the board has entered into a limited contract or extended limited contract with a teacher, the board must evaluate the teacher at least twice in any school year in which the board may wish to declare its intention not to re-employ the teacher. one evaluation must be completed by January 15, and the teacher must receive a written report of the results by January 25. the second evaluation must be completed between february 10 and april 1 and the teacher must receive a written report of the results by april 10.
6. the board may adopt a resolution to evaluate each teacher who received a rating of accomplished once every two school years.
In addition to all of the requirements above, hB 153 mandates that the local teacher evaluation policy include procedures for using the evaluation results for retention and promotion decisions and for removal of poorly-performing teachers and does not allow seniority to be the basis for teacher retention decisions, except when deciding between teachers who have comparable evaluations.
finally, hB 153 requires the local board of education to provide for the allocation of financial resources to support professional development that both accelerates teacher growth and provides support for teachers who have been identified as underperforming.