Professional Educators

Educators Key Players in Shaping New Teacher Evaluation Systems

A growing number of state teacher evaluation systems are focused exclusively on using tests to measure student growth or achievement. Even worse, administrators and education officials nationwide are employing evaluation systems with little input from educators or teacher organizations.

“As more states and districts seek to improve teacher evaluation, the risk is that reform is done to teachers rather than with them,” says National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel. “The momentum to reform teacher evaluation systems is growing, and educators need to be key players in these discussions and decisions.”

In 2011, delegates to the Representative Assembly of the National Education Association (NEA) developed the Policy Statement on Teacher Evaluation and Accountability.

“The NEA policy statement was written by and for teachers and takes into account the evidence-based research on teacher evaluation,” Van Roekel says. “It outlines a system to help teachers improve instruction and meet students’ needs. It offers sweeping changes to raise up the profession of teaching by focusing on high expectations.”

As part of NEA’s work to counter flawed, regressive evaluation systems and implement the policy statement, NEA developed the toolkit on Association-led evaluation and accountability reforms – which contains model contract language, guiding principles, and real-world examples that can be used by education organizations to develop evaluation and accountability systems. This resource document is particularly designed for use by NEA state and local affiliates to help members understand teacher evaluation, as well as peer assistance, peer assistance and review, and fair dismissal. The overall purpose of this electronic resource is to help members become better advocates for teacher evaluation and assessment systems that are transparent, fair, and comprehensive.

Within the last two years, more than 20 states have adopted legislation to revise their teacher evaluation systems, and school districts in every state have implemented evaluation reforms. In some states, policymakers have consulted NEA affiliates and worked with them to develop comprehensive evaluation systems based on multiple measures of student achievement and traditional classroom observations.

Massachusetts developed new evaluation regulations in 2011 based on recommendations by a 40-member Educator Evaluation Task Force. Recommendations made by the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) in “Reinventing Educator Evaluation” guided the work of that task force. The standards contained in this evaluation system are adapted from the core propositions of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and the Interstate New Teachers Assessment and Support Consortium Standards (INTASC). Under this new system, evaluation procedures and weight given to student achievement measures are mandatory subjects of bargaining.

“If properly implemented, this new system will lead to better evaluations and improved teaching, learning and leadership in our schools,” said MTA President Paul Toner. “School committees and local Associations are going to have to work out the details of the new systems in bargaining to make sure they are workable, fair and effective. The MTA will provide local associations with guidance and support during this process.”

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