Half of a teacher’s evaluation will be tied to student academic performance under the basics of a new system approved by Maryland education officials Monday.
The Maryland Council for Educator Effectiveness passed a set of initial recommendations Monday that will be used as a pilot evaluation in seven public school systems next year. The pilot would be expanded to all 24 school systems for the 2012-2013 school year, with officials slated to receive feedback and make adjustments as necessary.
Teachers will be rated as highly effective, effective and ineffective, under the system approved by the council’s 13-7 vote. The Council for Educator Effectiveness, which was created a year ago by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), consists of teachers, principals and other education officials. He tasked them with making recommendations for a new evaluation system for both teachers and principals.
Under the initial system, 30 percent of a teacher’s evaluation will be based on student growth and learning derived from a state model. The model will include statewide tests in subjects where the tests exist, and whether students showed sufficient progress on those tests.
An additional 20 percent will be based on student growth, but the percentage will be subject to an agreement between individual school systems and their local teachers unions. The agreement will include academic measures from a “menu” provided by the state, which ranges from SAT scores to student projects graded at the local level and checked by the state.
The remaining 50 percent will consist of a school system’s evaluation of a teacher’s professional practices, such as classroom environment, lesson preparation and instructional quality, based on local school system guidelines.
In total, local school systems will have input on roughly 70 percent of a teacher’s evaluation.
However, based on the state model, teachers rated as ineffective on student growth would automatically be rated ineffective overall, no matter how well they scored on professional practices.
Teachers rated ineffective on professional practices, meanwhile, still could be rated effective overall if they were judged highly effective or effective on student growth.
Outgoing Maryland Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick said she thought school systems would have enough flexibility in the recommendations.
“I think there’s a lot of talent and creativity among the local school systems,” Grasmick said at the council’s Monday meeting.
But Montgomery County Board of Education President Christopher S. Barclay, who voted against the recommendations because he thought the council should have debated them more, was concerned by the potential weight that student test scores could carry in decisions to fire teachers.
“Student growth trumps everything,” Barclay said.
In 2011-2012, the program will be piloted in Baltimore city and Baltimore, Charles, Kent, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s and St. Mary’s counties.
Meanwhile, the state’s recent push to make 2012-2013 a “no fault” pilot year in the state was approved by the U.S. Department of Education on Friday evening, Grasmick announced Monday. Originally, 2012-2013 had been the start time for the full evaluations.
The new teacher evaluations help the state meet its obligation under the federal Race to the Top initiative designed to revamp teacher evaluations and turn around struggling schools. Maryland received $250 million last year through Race to the Top.