6 reasons to improve teacher and principal evaluation policies

New data and analysis released by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) finds ample opportunities for improvement in states’ teacher and principal evaluation policies. With educator quality as the most powerful in-school factor that contributes to students’ academic success, an essential component to supporting student recovery in the wake of pandemic-related learning loss must be ensuring all students have access to effective teachers and administrators.

Evidence-based teacher and principal evaluation policies, when well-implemented, have great potential to help individual educators strengthen their practice, promote overall improvements in the quality of the workforce, and—most importantly—support increased student achievement.

“Strong, well-implemented teacher and principal evaluation systems can make a big difference for both teachers and students,” said Dr. Heather Peske, NCTQ President. “It’s disappointing to see that states have continued to back away from evidence-based evaluation policies and practices over the past several years, especially when we need to ensure every child has access to great teachers more than ever.”

The new NCTQ report, State of the States 2022: Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policies, presents data and analysis on policies from all 50 states and D.C. covering essential, evidence-based components of teacher and principal evaluation systems. Despite increased state adoption of evidence-based evaluation policies over a decade ago, the most recent data documents a continued decline in the number of states with teacher and principal evaluation requirements in place that research shows have the potential to drive significant improvements in student learning. 

Key findings in the NCTQ data include:

  • Fewer states require that objective measures of student growth be included in a teacher or principal’s evaluation. Helping students to grow academically is core to the role of all educators. Between 2009 and 2015, most states adopted policies that required educator evaluations include some objective measure of student growth, such as student state, district, or school assessment data or data from student learning objectives. However, while 43 states had this requirement for both teacher and principal evaluations in 2015, that number has since dropped to 30 states for teachers and 27 states for principals. While the pandemic may have interrupted assessments, recent declines in student results should reinvigorate states’ focus on student growth.
  • Fewer states now explicitly allow or require that student feedback be incorporated into a teacher’s evaluation. Teacher evaluations that include multiple sources of data, including from student assessments, teacher observations, and student surveys, create a fuller, more accurate picture of a teacher’s performance. Despite evidence that feedback from students is an important component to include in assessing teacher quality and to gauge students’ experiences, only five states now require that student surveys be included in a teacher’s evaluation. Support for including survey data in principal evaluations has also declined, with now only eight states requiring surveys or feedback from students, teachers, parents, and/or peers be included in a principal’s evaluation.

Related:
Prediction: The future of teacher evaluations is video
Post-COVID plans should focus on program values and evaluation…Read More

Texas’ Corpus Christi Independent School District Expands Partnership with Discovery Education by Selecting New, TEKS-Aligned Mystery Science to Support Deeper Student Engagement in Science

CHARLOTTE, NC —Texas’ Corpus Christi Independent School District (CCISD) today announced it has expanded its partnership with Discovery Education, which has supported student learning across the school system since 2017. In the latest phase of this collaboration, a new edition of the award-winning Mystery Science service built especially for Texas educators is helping CCISD teachers in K-5 classrooms districtwide engage students more deeply in science instruction. Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports instruction wherever it takes place. 

Committed to developing hearts and minds, CCISD serves nearly 33,000 students at 56 campuses within 68 square miles. The district’s mission is to graduate lifelong learners who are prepared to continue their education, enter the world of work, and be productive citizens. Since 1909, when the district was created, CCISD has served the community by focusing on excellence in preK-12 public education. 

To engage the district’s K-5 students more deeply in science instruction, CCISD sought a solution that would make it easier than ever to integrate highly engaging digital resources into science instruction. Specifically, district leaders and teachers sought a digital resource aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards, supportive of hands-on learning, and accessible to the district’s English Language Learners. Following a careful review of potential solutions, the CCISD team selected the new, TEKS-aligned Mystery Science for classroom use.   …Read More

3 ways to bring teacher PD into the 21st century

When I started teaching in the early 90s, I was an eager and very green third grade teacher ready to change the world, one class at a time. My colleagues and I worked hard to build a learning community that met the needs of our students, no matter their circumstances or the resources at our disposal (or lack thereof).  

Since then, I have served in various roles in public education and the private sector and have witnessed innovations in curriculum, instructional design, classroom design, and more. But amid all this change, one area has remained relatively static in public education. When it comes to training and developing teachers, we have been letting opportunity to leverage technology pass us by. Instead of a place to break new ground and match the demands of the modern classroom, professional development programs remain a pain point for teachers.

More than half of teachers have expressed wanting to leave the profession, with many citing a lack of quality development and support as a contributing factor. Teacher PD feels obligatory, generic, time-consuming, and for many, out of reach.…Read More

5 ways to prep students for online learning success

Students who attend online school today range from homeschoolers, to those seeking an alternative to in-person public schools, to learners who want to mix virtual schooling with in-person learning. Also, some districts have decided to keep an online option open for students who choose that method.

And while numerous parents and students have chosen to make online learning part of their education, the transition can be challenging. As someone who’s been involved with online schools for more than eight years, here are five common areas of concern and tips for how teachers and parents can navigate these challenges successfully.

Organization and Scheduling are Vital…Read More

Reading Horizons Launches Free Online Community to Support the Science of Reading

KAYSVILLE, UT — Reading Horizons, a company committed to partnering with educators to eradicate illiteracy, has launched the Science of Reading Collective, a free, online community designed to help teachers confidently and effectively implement the science of reading.

The science of reading identifies the most useful techniques for teaching and learning to read, but adopting a new approach can feel overwhelming, no matter how beneficial it will be for students. To support educators with any level of experience and an interest in teaching reading regardless of grade, the Science of Reading Collective is offering free access to:

  • Bite-sized practical lessons and professional learning events;
  • Monthly Q&A sessions with experts in the science of reading; and
  • An always-open forum for discussion with peers.

“Our mission is to empower educators to eradicate literacy,” said Tyson Smith, the CEO of Reading Horizons. “That’s why we’re offering free access to the Science of Reading Collective to all educators, whether they invest in our products or not. The science of reading comprises the most powerful tools for teaching students to read, and we believe that teachers deserve every advantage available to face the challenges of illiteracy.”…Read More

Students are still behind in math–what needs to change?

As students return to class this fall, K–12 teachers and administrators face many challenges—and math instruction is high on the list.

Although state assessment data from the 2021–2022 school year suggest that students have begun to close pandemic-related learning gaps, the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results reveal that students’ math scores dropped seven points—the first-ever score drop for math in the assessment’s fifty-year history.

Educators now face the daunting task of making up for lost instructional time from the COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time, addressing drops in math achievement and teaching grade-level content. Where do educators start?…Read More

CYPHER LEARNING Builds Out Proven Executive Team

PLANO, Texas —   CYPHER LEARNING, a leading provider of intelligent learning platforms for schools, universities and organizations around the world, today announced the expansion of its executive leadership team with Jennifer Geisler as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Matt Kane as Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). Combined with the prior appointment of Hank Courson, CFO, these proven leaders will help fuel CYPHER LEARNING’s global growth, customer success and innovation — helping the company achieve its mission to improve education by fundamentally changing the way people teach and learn worldwide.

“Jennifer, Matt and Hank bring a new and invigorating level of experience and leadership required to drive scale and high growth with a strong go-to-market strategy,” said Graham Glass, CEO of CYPHER LEARNING. “The large $8.1 billion LMS market has created significant growth opportunities for CYPHER LEARNING, as its leading-edge learning platform continues to gain traction due to its intuitive user experience, powerful functionality and innovative approach to teaching and learning. With our recent $40 million growth round and the addition of this power trio, we are now full speed ahead.”

In her role as CMO, Geisler will define and lead CYPHER LEARNING’s global marketing strategy with tight alignment across the company that drives scale, customer value and clear differentiation from the traditional learning management system (LMS). She brings more than two decades of marketing leadership experience, including two successful initial public offerings (IPOs), category creation and accelerated adoption of innovations. Geisler has previously held leadership roles at Vectra AI, Forescout, McAfee, Cisco and more.…Read More

Understanding historical trends and patterns in student data

Educators, students, and families weathered historic interruptions in learning over the past few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Student achievement, predicted to slide in the ongoing chaos, revealed its fragile nature in the NAEP’s recently released Long-Term Trend results from 2020–2022. The report showed the first-ever decline in mathematics and the most significant drop in reading achievement since the 1980s.

Effective student data analysis

As educators address this new landscape, accurate interventions to accelerate student learning are in demand. In order to know what type of intervention a student needs, high-quality data remain an essential element for educators. Teacher review and understanding of students’ data will guide instructional decisions and create positive outcomes for all students.…Read More