Melissa Tooley is a teacher quality and data analyst at The Education Trust. Melissa’s work at the Ed Trust focuses on evaluating and influencing policy to ensure that all students receive the effective teachers they need and deserve. This is part one in a series of blog posts discussing educator evaluations.

My last two blog posts have discussed the importance of design and implementation practices that ensure educator evaluation systems are fair and produce meaningful results. But unless we connect those results to the day-to-day decision making of schools and districts, these efforts will be moot.

Evaluation results should be incorporated into all decisions related to staffing. But it also is critical to have a clear focus on helping teachers improve and to ensure that the students furthest behind are taught by teachers most able to help them catch up.

The whole point of evaluation systems is to help teachers get better at what they do. To achieve this goal, districts and the state must provide teachers with the high-quality tools and resources they need to act on the specific evaluation feedback they receive.

Districts and schools should also use the results of more rigorous evaluation systems to help identify their strongest teachers. Once they do, they must endeavor to keep these teachers in the classroom. Currently, too many of our strongest teachers leave struggling schools, or leave the teaching profession altogether, because they don’t feel appreciated or recognized by anyone other than their students. Most of today’s school systems treat all teachers similarly, regardless of how effective they are in growing student learning. Comprehensive evaluations based on multiple measures provide district and school leaders with important information that they can use to strategically retain and thoughtfully assign their best teachers.

That means ensuring that the schools and students who most need strong teachers are getting them. Unfortunately, low-income students and students of color are more likely to be assigned to weak teachers than are other children. Parents and advocates should push for policies that encourage more of our top teachers to work in high-need schools, where research shows they can have a huge impact. Focusing on policies that ensure strong instructional leaders and structured opportunities for teacher collaboration will help create the conditions in high-need schools that attract and retain strong teachers. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools in North Carolina is an example of one district that has worked to even the teaching playing field for the students who traditionally have been shortchanged. Charlotte prioritized staffing efforts for its highest-need schools by putting strong school leadership in place and offering increased compensation on these campuses to help make them the kind of places where their strongest teachers wanted to work.

I’ve appreciated this opportunity to share ideas and recommendations for educator evaluation system development, implementation and use with the Chalkboard community. As Oregon develops and implements its own new system, I hope parents and advocates will encourage local and state leaders to do right by kids, making sure the new system is well-designed, well-implemented and—above all—used thoughtfully to improve instruction for all students.

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2 Responses to “Part 3: Using Educator Evaluation Systems to Identify and Develop Great Teaching”

  1. Steve Buel says:

    Melissa, I read your blogs in reverse order 3,2,then 1. After 3 and 2 I thought, “This woman has some pretty good ideas.” You understood about buy-in, the need to do real evaluations not just a one or two shot deal, and you seemed to value what teachers have to say about evaluations. Then I got to #1 and I understood you really didn’t unerstand how all this works. First of all, the idea of using student test scores, especially ones which are consistent from district to district, i.e. standardized high-stakes testing, as you suggest, is neither accurate or fair. Why would you use inaccurate data or unfair data for evaluating your teachers at all? And value added tests don’t help. They are inaccurate and unfair also. So why use them? That leaves student test data as cobbled together in such things as smart goals and other supposed workable models. So, all the fine things you said in 2 and 3 ended up resting on sand, built to fail. You need to rethink your basic ideas about evaluation by doing a better job of building an underlying philosophy which more directly reflects what actually takes place in schools. You have the outer shell here, you just need to refurbish the guts. Good luck. I am pulling for you.

  2. Mr.Halim says:

    Dear , i would like to request you that our organization working for the poor child who have no way to go in the school.
    at this moment we are making per village one school in the evening hours and one lady teacher teaching for poor child.we try to get up them to day by day improve.
    i therefore pray and hope please visit our organization as soon as possible .
    we are waiting to hearing you.
    rgds
    halim
    Bangladesh
    website:www.samajunnyansangsta.com

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