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Press Release: Confidence Continues To Grow In Implementation Of Educator Evaluation

Report Finds Teachers, Administrators Increasingly Positive

For Immediate Release                                          

Contact: Bill Reinhard, 410-767-0486, 443-670-7072 (cell)

Baltimore, MD (September 22, 2015)

Maryland educators are continuing to report progress in the statewide implementation process for Teacher and Principal Evaluation systems, according to a new report.

Change in Practice in Maryland: Student Learning Objectives and Teacher and Principal Evaluation,” issued today by the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center at WestEd and the Community Training and Assistance Center (CTAC), found expanded support for the evaluation process. The report zeroes in on the use of Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) as a tool to measure student growth and improve instruction, finding that major strides continue in the use of SLOs.

“Maryland is a national leader in developing a broad base of support for a TPE system that is instructionally focused,” said William Slotnik, founder and executive director of CTAC. “It is a system that provides both support and accountability.” 

The report presented today by Slotnik to the Maryland State Board of Education--the third in a series-- revealed that Teacher and Principal Evaluation (TPE) is prompting principals and teachers to deepen their reflection on the learning process, and has sparked increasingly data-rich and focused conversations about instruction in their school and school system.

School system leaders increasingly credit the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) with effective help in implementing TPE.  “Maryland has successfully addressed the initial challenges of TPE,” the report says, but it notes that principals and teachers need more support in key areas of implementation.  Those challenges have evolved since the process began, the report adds.

“This process cannot work effectively without partners in the classroom, school building, and system office, and we’ve had that from the very beginning,” said Interim State Superintendent of Schools Jack R. Smith.  “When we work collaboratively to strengthen teaching and learning, our students and our communities win.”

MSDE has involved all 24 school systems and various stakeholders in the professional development process for Teacher and Principal Evaluation. MSDE and the Maryland State Board of Education in June joined the Maryland State Education Association, Public School Superintendents Association of
Maryland, Maryland Association of Boards of Education, Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals, Maryland Association of Elementary School Principals, and the Baltimore Teachers Union in a Memorandum of Understanding pledging to coordinate resources and strategies in the development of rigorous and measurable SLOs as part of that process.

The Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, partnered with MSDE to conduct the study.  The study team included researchers from both CTAC and WestEd.  The study is a continuation of earlier work by CTAC and WestEd and is designed to further strengthen Maryland’s implementation of TPE and its SLO component.  SLOs are measurable instructional goals established for a specific group of students over a set period of time. SLOs serve as one of the measures of student growth for the State Teacher Evaluation model.

Researchers collected qualitative and quantitative data from State educators this past spring, including interviews with leaders from 12 school system leaders, teacher association leaders, administrators, and principals, as well as case studies from four systems.  In addition, the research included a statewide survey of teachers, principals and other educators from all 24 systems, with a response rate of 30.3 percent.

Among the other highlights of the report:

  • Both teachers and principals are increasingly positive regarding all aspects of TPE.
  • While principals are more likely than teachers to agree about the positive aspects of TPE, both are becoming increasingly positive over time.  For example, 63 percent of teachers say the TPE expectations are clear -- an improvement of 22 percentage points over the past two years.
  • Both teachers and principals are more confident in conducting educator observations than when the process began, and more useful feedback is being provided through observation.
  • Fewer teachers and principals say they need support in receiving feedback from school or district administration on the SLO process and the change has been dramatic.  In 2013, 67 percent of principals and 66 percent of teachers indicated a need for such support.  By 2015, just 45 percent of principals and 43 percent of teachers said this was needed.

MSDE last fall issued the first Statewide report on the results of the educator evaluations.  The initial data found that 97.2 percent of teachers were rated either “highly effective” or “effective.”  Likewise, 97.5 percent of principals were rated either “effective” or “highly effective.”  Results based on the 2014-15 school year will be unveiled next month.

Maryland schools are in the third year of implementing new evaluation systems, and MSDE will continue to monitor progress in that implementation.

Local school systems across the State have spent the past four years developing TPE programs.  Maryland’s winning $250 million Race to the Top federal grant proposal included a statewide TPE
system.  Every Maryland school has begun to see the benefits from the professional development and collaboration used to develop SLOs to guide instruction.

Each school district could develop its own evaluation system within State parameters, or could use a State-developed system.  In the end, each district constructed an evaluation model based on its own interests, and each local superintendent and head of the local bargaining unit signed off on the design.

MSDE received flexibility from the U.S. Department of Education, allowing the school year 2014-15 data to be used to establish a baseline for student achievement without using state assessment scores in personnel decisions during the first two years of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) assessments, which has replaced the MSA.  Data from the second PARCC test administration in school year 2015-16 will not be available until the summer.  New student achievement data could be used to measure growth and in making personnel decisions for the first time during the 2016-17 school year.

Read our full report "Change in Practice in Maryland: Student Learning Objectives and Teacher and Principal Evaluation,"

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