My colleague Stephen Sawchuk over at his Teacher Beat blog has written an interesting and important blog post highlighting a Tennessee Department of Education report, which states that on the two big components in its new teacher evaluation system, there tends to be a big gap between the observation scores principals give to teachers, and teachers’ academic growth scores. The department also says officials in charge of the evaluations have subsequently failed to not only identify, but also failed to support low-performing teachers.
As states implement and refine teacher evaluations that take both observations and students’ academic growth into account, it’s important to be on the lookout for these kinds of disparities between what education officials see with their eyes, and what the numbers are on a test sheet. State Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman told Stephen that the report shows that teachers who are told they are doing OK by their principals won’t change practices even when the student growth data indicates that perhaps they should. But the Tennessee Education Association took the opposite angle by saying academic growth could be the component that skews evaluations.
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.