The 2015-16 Evaluation Mess

Here's what ODE bullet points as the main changes to the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System

State law (Ohio House Bill 64) brought changes to the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System for the 2015-2016 school year and beyond. The bill extends "safe harbor" provisions for educators who use value-added ratings from state tests for the student growth measure portion of their evaluations. The legislation also modifies the alternative framework, one of two models districts must choose from when evaluating teachers and principals.

Safe harbor provides flexibility with value-added data – Because of the transition to new state tests, which offer value-added data as one means of calculating student academic growth, the General Assembly also extended and modified safe harbor provisions. That means that school districts will not use value-added ratings from state tests for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years as part of educator evaluations or when making decisions regarding dismissal, retention, tenure or compensation – unless they establish a memorandum of understanding to do so. Teachers will continue to receive value-added reports that will provide them with diagnostic information about their students’ progress.

Alternative framework changes – Districts still must choose either the original model (which weights performance and student growth equally at 50 percent each) or an alternative model to follow as they conduct teacher evaluations. The alternative model now weights teacher performance at 50 percent, student growth at 35 percent and an additional component as 15 percent of the total. If selecting this framework, districts may use one or any combination of five options for the additional component:

Student surveys;
Teacher self-evaluations;
Peer review evaluations;
Student portfolios; or a
District-determined component.

On the face of it, an improvement. Though the continued insistence on relying on unreliable VAM data is still, after all these years, after all the studies showing it doesn't work, is frustrating.

Now go read the FAQ ODE has produced, and one quickly realizes that once you start asking questions based on the real world, HB64 has created a tangled mess of more work - work that will once again be abandoned in 2 years time when the safe harbor expires.

The legislature should simply scrap all this state mandated evaluation nonsense, and allow districts to develop their own evaluation systems, leaving ODE to provide suggested frameworks, and assessments.

It is simply not possible to get to a system that fairly evaluates all teachers in an apples-to-apples way, and that amount of effort being expending in attempting to do so is distracting from the primary mission of educating students.