Teacher evaluations better, but there’s still room for improvement


GREENVILLE – The Ohio Department of Education’s new system for evaluating teachers and principals has been in place for almost two years now, and a recently published report on the process has found that it’s better than it used to be, but there is still room for improvement.

According to Ohio’s Student Growth Measures Policy and Practice, a report recently published by the Ohio Education Research Center, the new system appears to be more “discerning and rigorous,” but some components need to be improved.

According various national reports, under previous evaluation systems, virtually all teachers were rated similarly and highly. Results from the first year of the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) and Ohio’s Principal Evaluation System (OPES) indicate that the new evaluation is more variable and thorough.

Greenville Superintendent Douglas Fries agreed that the new system is better, but it’s also more time-consuming.

“I think the system is an improvement, because it promotes collaboration and cooperation among the principals and the teachers in the instructional practice,” Fries said.

The new system rates teachers as “Accomplished,” “Skilled,” “Developing” or “Ineffective.”

Although he described the new process as “thorough and good,” he said it also is very time-consuming for principals and superintendents to complete the process.

“I think if they’re in the ‘Accomplished’ or ‘Skilled’ level, they should be evaluated every other year instead of every year to allow more time (for administrators) to get them done appropriately for the people that need more time with them,” he said.

Fries said he believed the committee in charge of policies and procedures are considering more time between evaluations for those who are rated highly.

Originally requested by the Ohio Department of Education, the report by the Ohio Education Research Center closely examines the results of the first full year of implementation of the new Teacher and principal evaluation systems. The researchers provided a detailed analysis of the 2013-14 data from the Electronic Teacher and Principal Evaluation System (eTPES), as well as interviews and surveys with teachers and principals from across the state.

“This is the first year of a transformational change in how Ohio evaluates teachers and principals,” the report cover memo states. “It would be impossible to execute such a change flawlessly and without need of modification based on initial date. That is why this study was critical.”

Both the OTES and OPES rely on two key evaluation components, each weighted at 50 percent: a rating of teacher or prinicipal performance based on state-specified performance standards, and a rating based on student academic growth.

The teacher performance standards include seven components:

(i) Students — Teachers understand student learning and development and respect the diversity of the students they teach;

(ii) Content — Teachers know and understand the content area for which they have instructional responsibility;

(iii) Assessment — Teachers understand and use varied assessments to inform instruction, evaluate and ensure student learning;

(iv) Instruction — Teachers plan and deliver effective instruction that advances the learning of each individual student;

(v) Learning Environment — Teachers create learning environments that promote high levels of learning and achievement for all students;

(vi) Collaboration and Communication — Teachers collaborate and communicate with other educators, administrators, students and parents and the community to support student learning; and

(vii) Professional Responsibility and Growth — Teachers assume responsibility for professional growth, performance, and involvement as an individual and as a member of a learning community.

The performance standards for principals call on effective principals to:

• Help create a shared vision and clear goals for their schools and ensure continuous progress toward achieving the goals;

• Support the implementation of high-quality standards based instruction that results in high levels of achievement for all students;

• Allocate resources and manage school operations in order to ensure a safe and productive learning environment;

• Establish and sustain collaborative learning and shared leadership to promote learning and achievement of all students; and

• Engage parents and community members in the educational process and create an environment where community resources support student learning, achievement and wellbeing.