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Press Release: More Evidence That Maryland's Educators Are Making The Grade

Evaluation Data Reveals Some Differences between Schools, Systems

For Immediate Release                                               Contact: Bill Reinhard, 410-767-0486

Baltimore, MD (October 27, 2015)

Teacher and principal effectiveness ratings showed improved precision across Maryland, according to the second annual State report card on educator evaluations.

In the second full report, completed last school year, 97.4 percent of teachers were rated either “highly effective” or “effective” in the State’s three-tiered rating system, a slight increase over 2013-14.  Likewise, 97.8 percent of principals were rated either “effective” or “highly effective.”

While overall ratings for educators remain high, differences in the percentage of effective educators are emerging between schools and school systems.

“Our goal is to make certain all of our students, no matter where they live, have access to great teachers and school leaders,” said Interim State Superintendent of Schools Jack R. Smith.  “Maryland has thousands of great educators.  Our school systems can use this data to further improve classrooms, schools, and student success.”

The data, unveiled today before the Maryland State Board of Education, is based on the 2014-15 school year.  It found that 44.55 percent of teachers were rated “highly effective,” the top tier of the three part rating system.  Likewise, 47.1 percent of principals were rated “highly effective,” under the evaluation system.

Maryland school systems have spent the past five years developing TPE programs. Every Maryland school has begun to see the benefits from the professional development and collaboration used to develop Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) to guide instruction.  Systems are currently in the third year of implementing new evaluation systems, and MSDE will continue to monitor progress in that implementation. 

Today’s data release marks the second annual statewide effort to evaluate teacher and principal effectiveness based in part on student growth. 

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.

Evaluations were based on two factors: (1) professional practice – items such as education, leadership and observation; and (2) student growth.  For the first two years of the evaluation system, student growth will be calculated exclusively by using the SLOs. SLOs are measurable instructional goals established for a specific group of students over a set period of time. 

Today’s report found:

  • Students in low poverty schools are more than two times more likely to have a highly effective teacher than students in high poverty schools.  Students in low poverty schools are nearly three times more likely to have a highly effective principal.
  • Students in low minority schools are four times more likely to have a highly effective teacher than students in high minority schools.  Students in low minority schools are more than twice as likely to have a principal rated highly effective than those in high minority schools.
  • Tenured teachers are more likely to be rated highly effective -- and less likely to be rated ineffective -- than untenured teachers.
  • There is significant variation between school systems in their teacher and principal effectiveness ratings.

All 24 of Maryland’s school systems are now participating in the Statewide Teacher and Principal Evaluation Program.

There are 43,818 teacher ratings included in today’s release, along with 1,101 principal ratings.  The largest participating systems (Prince George’s County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County) represent two-thirds of the ratings.  The full range of data from Frederick and Montgomery Counties will be provided in the summer 2016.

MSDE has involved all 24 school systems and various stakeholders in the professional development process for Teacher and Principal Evaluation.  In 2014, MSDE and the Maryland State Board of Education 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.

Several reports on Maryland’s Teacher-Principal Evaluation system have already been released.  For example, “Change in Practice in Maryland: Student Learning Objectives and Teacher and Principal Evaluation,” issued last month by the Community Training and Assistance Center and the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center of WestEd, found that support continues to grow for the evaluation process.  Educators are embracing the use of SLOs as a tool to measure student growth and improve instruction. The full report from Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center is available here.   

Today’s data release on Teacher-Principal Evaluations can be found here.