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State’s Evaluation Models Show Need for Consensus in Teacher Evaluations

A recent report shows that Indiana teachers are being graded based on nearly 250 employee evaluation models. Districts can choose one of the teacher evaluation models they wish to use, although there’s evidence that they can vary widely.

As a result, critics are saying it’s another piece of evidence that there needs to be a consensus on teacher evaluations. The report will be presented to the Indiana Department of Education as part of a presentation on consolidating the evaluation models.

The report was compiled by researchers from the Center on Education and Lifelong Learning at Indiana University, who reviewed 245 teacher evaluation models. The researchers reported finding significant differences among the models, particularly with how much student test scores counted toward final results.

For example, student test scores could account for as much as 60 percent of the teacher’s final ratings compared to two percent for other evaluation models. The researchers also evaluated the effectiveness of the evaluations, rating 31 of them with high marks, 207 with average marks, and 33 with low marks.

The report also outlined the following areas:

  • 71 percent communicated statement, philosophy and belief statements in the plan
  • 32 percent provided specifics for gathering stakeholder feedback
  • 89 percent clearly described who would be evaluating teachers
  • 86 percent clearly define evaluators’ roles and responsibilities
  • 47 percent require evaluator training with certification for all evaluators
  • 28 percent have an oversight process is in place

Another report highlighted issues with teacher evaluations in California. The StudentsFirst research noted that the vast majority of the 26 largest districts rely on teacher evaluation systems that don’t comply with California’s existing teacher evaluation laws.

Critics agree that teacher evaluations are not being used to help improve performance. Instead, they’re primarily being used to identify teachers who are failing to meet standards.