Ratings madness: NO ‘highly effective’ elementary/middle-school teachers in Syracuse?

Oct 13, 2013 by

Welcoming-Schools-BusBy Aaron Pallas –

What the heck happened in Syracuse?

About 10 days ago, Superintendent Sharon Contreras briefed the city’s Board of Education on the results of the first year of implementation of the “Annual Professional Performance Review” (APPR) plan, a fancy phrase for the new statewide teacher and principal evaluation system in New York. The APPR process sorts teachers into the categories of “highly effective,” “effective,” “developing” and “ineffective” based on state-approved measures of student learning “growth,” locally determined measures of student achievement, and principal and peer observations of teachers’ classroom practices.

The summary evaluations reported by Superintendent Contreras were striking: Just two percent of Syracuse teachers were rated highly effective, and an additional 58 percent were deemed effective. Seven percent were classified as ineffective, and 33 percent as developing, categories that suggest low levels of teaching performance, the need for teacher improvement plans, and the threat of eventual dismissal. Not a single elementary or middle-school teacher in the entire district was rated highly effective.

When the ratings were disaggregated into their three components, a distinct pattern emerged. Syracuse teachers were, on average, squarely in the effective range on the state growth scores, garnering an average of 11 out of the 20 points available in this category. And they were rated effective or highly effective by the principals and peers who observed them, averaging a score of 58 out of 60 on the professional practice observational measures. So far, so good. But on the school-wide measures of student achievement used to calculate the local measures, Syracuse teachers obtained an average score of 6 out of 20, and even a bit lower than that for teachers in elementary and middle schools.

How could this be? Is it plausible that teachers’ performance could be so discrepant across these three categories making up the summary teacher evaluation? To be sure, there are longstanding concerns that teachers have been rated exemplary while the performance of their students has languished. But in Syracuse, teacher performance on the statewide “objective” measures was in the effective range, whereas it was much, much lower on the local measures of achievement.

via Ratings madness: NO ‘highly effective’ elementary/middle-school teachers in Syracuse?.

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