The Frequently Asked Questions and responses below are provided as a summary response to the numerous questions regarding the teacher evaluation system in Georgia’s RT3 application. Readers are strongly encouraged to visit the Georgia’s RT3 website at http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/RT3.aspx for the full explanation of each question.
1. Why are we changing the way we evaluate teachers? Advances in research on teacher effectiveness and data quality improvements now enable educators to more accurately identify practices that positively affect student achievement. Race To The Top (RT3) gives Georgia the momentum to revise and/or develop a teacher evaluation system that uses multiple measures to determine an educator’s effectiveness. We have the unique opportunity to develop a comprehensive system that allows a 360 degree view of a teacher’s instructional practices and the impact on student learning. The new comprehensive Teacher Keys Evaluation System will use an effectiveness metric termed Teacher Effectiveness Measure (TEM) that will utilize qualitative measures (observation-based), closing the achievement gap, growth/value added, and other quantitative measures to assign an effective measure for teachers in the 26 RT3 partner districts. CLASS Keyssm and the Georgia Teacher Observation Instrument (GTOI) are valid and reliable tools that measure only one component of instruction. The new TEM is being developed to: (1) identify effective teaching; (2) identify teachers’ areas for improvement and provide support; and (3) increase student achievement for all students.
2. How will the new evaluation system be different? Traditional evaluation systems rely primarily on classroom observations of teacher practice. The new Teacher Keys Evaluation System will still include observations, but also will include other measures of performance, both quantitative and qualitative, for a more comprehensive assessment of performance. Combined in the Teacher Keys Evaluation System, these measures will be used to determine an overall assessment of performance called the Teacher Effectiveness Measure (TEM).
3. What measures of performance will be included in the new Teacher Keys Evaluation System? The Teacher Effectiveness Measure is based on four inputs:
• Qualitative (Rubrics-based) Evaluation will count: 30% for Teachers of Tested Subjects 60% for Teachers of Non-Tested Subjects
• Class-level Value-Added/Growth Score will count: 50% for Teachers of Tested Subjects Teachers of Non-Tested Subjects will not receive a value-added/growth score.
• Student Achievement Gap Reduction will count: 10% for Teachers of Tested Subjects Teachers of Non-Tested Subjects will not receive a student achievement Gap Reduction Score.
• Other Quantitative Measures (such as parent and student surveys) 10% for Teachers of Tested Subjects 40% for Teachers of Non-Tested Subjects
4. How can student achievement results be used to evaluate a teacher’s performance? There are numerous statistical models currently being used to link student achievement results to specific teachers, grade levels, departments and/or schools. Some use state accountability tests, such as the CRCT. Others use locally developed assessments. These models are typically called growth or value-added models, measuring student academic achievement growth over time.
5. State accountability is often associated with subjects with a standardized test. How can student achievement results be used for teachers of non-tested subjects, such as art, music and physical education? We know the value of what teachers of subjects such as art, music and physical education can and do contribute to a student’s overall academic performance. However, Georgia’s Teacher Effectiveness Model proposes to measure the effectiveness of teachers of non-tested subjects by using a rubric-based qualitative measure and other quantitative measures of student learning.
6. What is the difference between a growth model and a value-added model? Growth models move beyond attainment or status indicators (how many student achieved proficiency) to describe the progress students, schools, and districts have made over the course of an academic year.
Many believe growth better answers the question, “Are all students learning?” Growth models, in their most basic form, compare the academic performance of students between two points in time (such as previous year and current year).
Growth and value added models are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Any model that establishes a relationship between growth and effectiveness falls within the value added arena. Growth models become value added models when the results are attributed to an educator or a program.
7. Will teacher compensation be tied to evaluation results? It is expected that Georgia will eventually move to a compensation structure that more accurately reflects teacher performance. Currently, teachers are compensated based on experience and degrees earned. Experience and degrees can impact, but don’t necessarily, ensure performance. The first step must be to implement a valid and reliable evaluation system that differentiates levels of performance. Then, we can confidently implement a compensation structure that rewards teachers based on their performance.
8. Who is involved in the development of the new evaluation system for teachers? The Georgia Department of Education has partnered with the 26 school districts involved in Georgia’s RT3 initiatives to develop, pilot and implement the new Teacher Keys Evaluation System for teachers. From these 26 school districts, three steering committees have been established to: (1) select a value-added/growth model; (2) restructure CLASS and Leader Keys, and (3) determine other appropriate quantitative measures of performance. These 26 partner districts represent approximately 40% of the student and teacher population in Georgia.
9. What is the time line for implementing the new Teacher Keys Evaluation System? Restructuring of CLASS Keys will continue through October 2011. Training will take place from October through December. Determination of other measures in the comprehensive evaluation system will continue through December 2011. The 26 partner districts will pilot the new Teacher Keys Evaluation System, including the restructured CLASS Keys from January through May, 2012, and fully implement the system beginning the fall of 2012. Remaining Georgia school districts will be phased in on a voluntary basis through 2015.
10. What is the time line for tying compensation to the new Teacher Keys Evaluation System? The State Board of Education will need to adopt a new performance-based state salary schedule for teachers and leaders before compensation can be tied to performance. Pilot of the performance-based compensation is planned with the 26 RT3 LEAs in 2013-2014. Full implementation of performance-based compensation is expected in the 2015-2016 school year.
When compensation is piloted in 2013-2014 and is tied to the new evaluation system in 2015-2016, teachers currently employed will have an opportunity to “opt in” or “opt out” of pay for performance. Newly hired teachers will not have an option but will have their compensation tied to performance.
11. Will a teacher currently employed by a public school system in Georgia have the opportunity to opt out of the new Teacher Keys Evaluation System? No, not if the teacher is employed by a RT3 district. The goals for a new evaluation system are the same for all teachers regardless of experience, so the new system will be applied to all teachers in RT3 districts. RT3 Districts will be piloting the new Teacher Keys Evaluation System January-May 2012 alongside their current evaluation systems. The new Teacher Keys Evaluation System will be fully implemented for the 2012-2013 school year after validity and reliability are established.
Non-RT3 systems are not required to implement the new Teacher Keys Evaluation System. However, they are encouraged to do so, and up to sixty additional districts will be trained and supported each year for the next three years, beginning in 2012-2013.
12. Will the new Teacher Keys Evaluation System take into account that some teachers work at more challenging schools in terms of socioeconomics and other factors? A specific value-added model has not been selected by the Georgia Department of Education at this time. However, many value-added growth models include demographic and other variables to predict student achievement. A benefit of using a value-added model is that it measures student achievement growth over time. Establishing an absolute score for every school to achieve would not be appropriate for all schools.
13. Will local school districts have the flexibility to use their own rubric-based system and incorporate it into the TEM or is the expectation that all RT3 districts must implement CLASS Keys for the qualitative measure? All 26 RT3 districts must pilot the restructured CLASS and Leader Keys January 2012-May 2012.
14. Will the new Teacher Keys Evaluation System result in more work for administrators and teachers? Quality performance evaluations take a considerable amount of time for both teachers and administrators. The restructured rubric-based, qualitative evaluation process is more efficient than previous evaluation models, and performance data can be collected either electronically or on paper forms. The restructured CLASS Keys provides for a more comprehensive assessment of classroom practices without reducing instructional or planning time and without increasing demands on the time of administrators.
15. How will Georgia ensure the new Teacher Keys Evaluation System is fair to all teachers and the new Leader Keys Evaluation System is fair to all principals and assistant principals? Teachers and leaders have been involved, and will continue to be involved, in the development and pilot of the comprehensive evaluation system that will yield a Teacher Effectiveness Measure (TEM) for teachers and a Leader Effectiveness Measure (LEM) for school leaders. Additionally, the evaluation systems will include data from 26 school districts participating in the pilot and will be rigorously tested to ensure they are valid and reliable.
16. How will the new evaluation system support on-going professional learning for all teachers? The comprehensive evaluation system will yield a Teacher Effectiveness Measure (TEM) annually. However, it will also provide continual data on teacher and student performance that can be used to inform individual, team, school, and system professional learning plans and support on-going professional growth.
17. Are SIG schools and NI-5 schools that are not in a RT3 district required to implement the restructured CLASS Keys? No, they are not required to implement the restructured CLASS Keys. Districts that are not RT3 partners may consider becoming one of the remaining Georgia school districts that will be phased in on a voluntary basis through 2015.
18. What will the restructured CLASS and Leader Keys rubric based instruments be named? The restructured CLASS Keys rubric based instrument will be named the Teacher Assessment on Performance Standards (TAPS). The restructured Leader Keys rubric based instrument will be named Leader Assessment on Performance Standards (LAPS).
19. How will LEA staff be trained? For the 2011-2012 pilot, principals, assistant principals, and other school administrators who are responsible for evaluating teachers will be trained by partnering Georgia Department of Education specialists and school district staff. Central office personnel who are responsible for evaluating principals will be trained by Georgia Department of Education specialists. District personnel will provide an orientation to the Leader Assessment on Performance Standards for building principals. Building principals will provide an orientation to the Teacher Assessment on Performance Standards for teachers. In addition, webinars and regional sessions will be scheduled by the Georgia Department of Education to assist with the orientation process for the Teacher Assessment on Performance Standards. Georgia Department of Education specialists will also provide training on the other measures included in the comprehensive evaluation systems during the 2011-2012 pilot.
For the 2012-2013 implementation of the validated Teacher Keys Evaluation System and Leader Keys Evaluation System, all personnel will be retrained.