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Press Release: Maryland's Teachers, Principals Score Well In Initial Evaluations

First Statewide Data Finds Majority Of Educators Rated Effective Under New Evaluation Systems

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

Baltimore, MD (October 28, 2014)

Maryland teachers and principals received their first Statewide report card today, and the results are favorable.

In the first full report on teacher evaluations, completed last school year, 97.2 percent were rated either “highly effective” or “effective” in the State’s three-tiered rating system.  Likewise, 97.5 percent of principals were rated either “effective” or “highly effective.”

“Maryland’s educational success is built solidly on the effectiveness of our educators, and today’s data release tells us that many of our teachers and leaders are getting the job done,” said Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery.  “These results give us a starting point, and provide important data for the State and our systems as continue to strengthen instruction for students.”

The data based on the 2013-14 school year found that 40.8 percent of teachers were rated “highly effective,” the top tier of the three-part rating system.  Likewise, 48.3 percent of principals were rated “highly effective,” under the evaluation system. 

There are 43,805 teacher ratings at 1,112 principal ratings included in today’s release, with the first largest participating systems (Prince George’s County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County) representing two-thirds of the ratings.  An independent analysis of the performance of the evaluation models and their component parts will be conducted by the MidAtlantic Comprehensive Center at WestEd and will be issued this winter.

 “This is our first data release, and local school systems have done an amazing job in providing this information to us,” said David Volrath, who leads Maryland’s Teacher and Principal Evaluation efforts.  “As we strengthen this process moving forward, ratings could be affected.”

Maryland school systems 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.  Systems are currently in the second year of implementing new evaluation systems, and MSDE will continue to monitor progress in that implementation. 

Today’s data release marks the first 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: professional practice – planning and preparation, instructional delivery, classroom environment, and professional responsibility – and student growth.  For the first two years of the evaluation system, student growth will be calculated by using Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) and other evidence of student growth available in the local system.  Other measures may include local benchmark assessments and end-of-course tests.

SLOs are measurable instructional goals established for a specific group of students over a set period of time.  State assessment data will become available for consideration as part of the student growth calculation again in 2016-17.

As required by the U.S. Department of Education, local school systems also ran their evaluation model calculations using Maryland School Assessment scores to gauge the effect that data would have on ratings.  The addition of the scores had only a minimal effect on ratings, systems found.

Twenty-two of Maryland’s 24 school systems participated in the first year of the Statewide Teacher and Principal Evaluation Program—those systems that signed on to the Rate to the Top program.  Only Frederick and Montgomery counties did not participate in its first year.  Those systems will be joining the program for the current school year, 2014-15.

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.

Several reports on Maryland’s Teacher-Principal Evaluation system have already been released.  For example, “Real Progress 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 growing support for the evaluation process.  In particular, educators are embracing the use of Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) as a tool to measure student growth and improve instruction. The full report is available here.

The results of that study mirrored the results of MSDE research, released earlier this year.  In a report unveiled in March, 80 percent or more of professional development coordinators involved say they are either “increasingly confident” or “fully confident” in Teacher and Principal Evaluation systems at this juncture.  That percentage had increased from 60 percent just a few months earlier.

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