Teacher evaluation in PreK: Using student data is risky


As states and school districts continue to develop, implement, and refine the student growth measures of their teacher evaluation systems, there are various issues to address, according to the report:

1. Assessments are designed to be used in specific ways and do not always lend themselves well to other purposes.

2. States will need to decide whether there should be one statewide system or many different district-level systems, and be prepared to provide technical assistance to discover what measures are appropriate for young children, what skills should be measured, and how to measure them in accordance with developmentally appropriate guidelines.

3. While state and district officials may focus on improving numeracy and literacy in PreK-3rd, they should be concerned with whether students are developing crucial skills in the other domains of learning.

4. Engaging schools of education in conversations about teacher evaluation is important, so prospective teachers and principals can gain expertise in assessment models.

5. Creating a system in which teachers set goals and design measures to gauge student growth when their compensation or jobs depend on the results is rife with problems, as with SLOs.

6. Different delivery models of pre-K and kindergarten make it difficult to tie student growth to individual teachers in the earliest grades.

7. States should align their teacher evaluation systems with the Common Core State Standards before implementing the new assessments in the 2014-15 school year.

8. In evaluations of PreK-3rd grade teachers, states and districts should consider whether teachers administered student assessments appropriately and what they did with the data.

9. Since there is limited research on the approaches discussed in this paper, states and school districts should proceed cautiously in selecting assessments for measuring student learning in the early grades.

For more detailed information and case studies, read the report.

Meris Stansbury

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