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Module 2: Leveraging the Results of Strategic Evaluation Systems

Overview

Overview

While T-TESS incorporates multiple measures to evaluate teacher practice, districts’ implementation of T-TESS has not meaningfully differentiated teacher performance. Strengthening an evaluation system to provide meaningful differentiation enables important results and rewards the most impactful educators. It allows for:

Equity in Access to Effective Teachers and School Leaders

Equity in Access to Effective Teachers and School Leaders

One important strategy for supporting student success, particularly for students of color and students in low-income communities, is ensuring that effective educators are teaching in the schools and classrooms most in need. Research shows that students assigned to effective teachers are more likely to attend college, earn higher salaries, live in higher socio-economic status neighborhoods, and save more for retirement.

How can my district use evaluation data to support this strategy?

Evaluation data can be used to make strategic staffing decisions that ensure students with the highest need have access to effective educators. These decisions include which teachers are placed in high-needs schools and which teachers get tenure. Some districts are incentivizing their high-performing educators to teach in high needs schools by offering financial compensation.

Spotlight

Dallas ISD

Detail

Dallas ISD uses evaluation data to implement its Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE) initiative. This initiative uses teacher performance ratings to ensure that effective leadership teams and teachers are in the classrooms where they are needed most.

ACE incentivizes top performing teachers and leaders to relocate to some of the district’s lowest-performing schools. Dallas ISD, and other ACE districts, begin the hiring process with a quantitative analysis to identify a pool of talent for consideration.

Typically, districts use objective student assessment data (STAAR, MAP, iStation, etc) along with other qualitative data points such as classroom observations and culture and climate survey data. Once selected, teachers and leaders at ACE schools receive an additional stipend ranging from $8,000 to $15,000 a year. To learn more about ACE, visit the Best in Class ACE Toolkit.

Differentiated PD

Differentiated PD

An evaluation system that provides meaningful differentiation in performance allows a district to target its professional development to an individual teacher's areas of growth, address trends that emerge for groups of teachers and support educators through coaching and feedback. The ability to provide differentiated support based on evaluation data is especially helpful when it comes to supporting teachers newer to the field; novice teachers are at a critical development stage and targeted support based on evaluation data can aid them in building the skills necessary to be a successful educator.

How can my district use evaluation data to support this strategy?

Evaluation data can be used to identify teachers’ areas of growth for professional development as well as identify those teachers in need of additional supports such as coaching, mentoring and/or targeted professional development sessions. For example, evaluation data can be used to match a teacher with a low rating in a specific area with a teacher who has demonstrated excellence in that same area of focus. Additionally, teachers rated highly effective can be provided more flexibility in their professional development and given opportunities to drive their own growth. This could include a self-directed growth plan or opportunities to develop other teachers. Evaluation data can also be used to inform the feedback cycle so coaches have targeted feedback to inform teachers’ practice.

Spotlight:

Washington DC

Detail

Washington DC’s Learning Together to Advance our Practice (LEAP) program centers on helping teachers become experts in standards-aligned instruction. To do so, teachers engage in weekly professional development cycles in content-focused professional learning communities. Teachers deepen their content knowledge as well as receive one-on-one feedback via LEAP coaching touchpoints. These touchpoints differ based on evaluation data, and additional formative data, and allow the coach to focus support on teachers’ growth areas.

The evaluation system, IMPACT, also aids the LEAP program by outlining clear performance expectations and creating a common language for success along with providing opportunities for frequent and meaningful feedback. Additionally, LEAP Leaders are critical to this program. To support their development and capacity to provide support, a LEAP Leadership Framework is also included in all LEAP Leader IMPACT scores. Additional information on LEAP can be found here.

Differentiated Compensation

Differentiated Compensation

Nearly every Texas school district compensates teachers based on seniority regardless of classroom effectiveness. Within seniority-based compensation systems, there is no financial incentive for an effective educator to take on a more challenging role within a high-need or low-performing campus. As a result, current systems favor more affluent schools and districts, which perpetuates systemic inequities. By re-considering the approach to compensation, a district can support the district’s values by prioritizing results and rewarding teachers and leaders accordingly. Differentiated compensation enables the district to reward and retain teachers who perform well and raise student achievement results. After implementing a strategic compensation system, over 90% of proficient or above teachers at Dallas ISD were retained, far exceeding the 83% state average for teacher retention.

How can my district use evaluation data to support this strategy?

Evaluation data can be used to inform the level of compensation for teachers. Compensation adjustments can include either additional performance bonuses or stipends or a change to the salary structure. Both methods have benefits and considerations:

  • Stipends: Stipends can be perceived as a concrete bonus and recognition for an educator’s accomplishment. The level of stipends can adjust annually in response to budget needs and the number of educators who are eligible. This allows for flexibility, but may lead to a lack of confidence in the longevity of the system.
  • Salary Structure: Changes to an educator’s base pay can be perceived as a more permanent commitment to recognizing an educator’s accomplishments. Those educators with a higher salary level now will also have a higher retirement benefit later, so the district must ensure fiscal feasibility in future years. Additionally, this system can lead to some uncertainty because it may be harder for teachers to understand their salary in the upcoming year. Final compensation decisions would be based on data that comes in over the summer and not finalized until after school begins in Mid-August. However, under this structure, an educator would know their salary minimum prior to signing a new contract, and the final compensation decision would only increase their total pay. See the School Finance and School Outcomes presentation by the Texas Schools Project.
Spotlight:

Lubbock ISD

Detail

Lubbock ISD awards stipends to educators based on student performance, calculated using a value-added model. An educator may earn a stipend based on their campus progress, campus achievement, content area progress or individual progress. This allows for all educators, regardless of grade or subject area, to be eligible for an award. Awards are annual and based on the previous year’s evaluation data.

Initially, the stipends were grant funded but are now solely district supported; the district uses data collected over the past 10 years to accurately anticipate and allocated needed funds. The district works with EVAAS and Battelle for Kids to support the value-added model and compensation system. Additional information on the award system can be found here.

Identification of Future Campus Leaders

Identification of Future Campus Leaders

Principal turnover is a challenge in many districts and greatest at schools with a higher concentration of poverty. In a 2016 Bain & Co. Leadership survey of 7 urban districts and CMOs, 97% of respondents believe effective principals are critical to school success, but only about 15% of educators and leaders believe the that the most talented people become principals. Identifying future leaders, and supporting educators and leaders on their path toward school leadership, can help ensure that the right individuals are in leadership positions with the right support. Offering career pathways is one way of supporting educators and leaders in becoming effective school leaders. Career pathways provide individuals with a differentiated sequence of career stages with increased compensation and responsibilities at each level.

How can my district use evaluation data to support this strategy?

Evaluation data can be used to identify educators for different career pathways, such as teacher leadership roles, mentoring positions or district advisory roles. This can help ensure educators and school leaders have leadership opportunities to maximize their potential. Additionally, data can be used to identify teachers with a proven track record of student growth to serve as mentor teaches. The data can also be used for strategic placement of novice or student teachers with these educators.

Spotlight:

IDEA Public Schools

Detail

The Teacher Career Pathway (TCP) at IDEA Public Schools rewards and recognizes teachers based on teacher experience and evaluation data. Teachers are placed into one of five levels, based on their evaluation score, which is informed by observations, student growth, student and parent perception and alignment to IDEA’s core values. Teachers who achieve the highest two levels – levels 4 and 5 - earn bonuses of $3000 to $10,000 over three years and are eligible for additional leadership positions, such as mentoring and leading professional development that pay an extra stipend.

Additionally, Level 4 and 5 teachers are invited to attend an Advanced Teacher Retreat where they participate in professional growth workshops and can bring their family for the weekend.

IDEA also found that TCP, in combination with paid FMLA, improved their efforts to recruit and retain teachers of color. In 2015-16, 85 percent of IDEA teachers and 74 percent of principals were people of color. Additional information on IDEA’s TCP can be found here.

Improved Teacher Recruitment

Improved Teacher Recruitment

A district in the state of Texas replaces, on average, 16% of their teaching staff each year. These percentages tend to be higher for urban districts. Given the high number of new teachers every year, and the impact an effective teacher has on student success, districts need a strong teacher pipeline.

How can my district use evaluation data to support this strategy?

Evaluation data can be used to conduct a pipeline analysis of educator preparation programs and the effectiveness of program cohorts. This can help districts better understand which teacher preparation programs produce teachers well-equipped for success. With this information, a district can re-think recruitment practices for future hiring cycles. Additionally, the data can help a district identify specific supports for a new teacher based on that teacher's preparation program. Additionally, districts can improve their efforts to diversify their educator pipeline by promoting the ways they leverage evaluation data – differentiated professional development, differentiated compensation and career pathways – in the recruitment process. Finally, districts may also consider utilizing the ultimate “buying power” of a school district to drive systemic improvements in the teacher preparation programs. To better understand how a district can create a strong partnership with teacher preparation programs, visit Partnering on Prep: A Toolkit for Building Strong District Teacher Preparation Program Partnerships.

Spotlight:

New Mexico

Detail

New Mexico fully integrates the educator evaluation system with teacher preparation and licensure systems. The state requires that all districts use five components for their teacher evaluation with set percentage requirements: student growth, observations, professionalism, student survey and teacher absenteeism.

Teacher preparation programs in New Mexico are required to collect and report student growth data on their program graduates. Additionally, for an educator to advance their license they must be able to show teacher effectiveness and student learning.