NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Education this week released a report to the General Assembly recommending revisions to the state’s teacher evaluation system as a part of its process of continuous improvement.
The department found that many districts noticed increased quality of instruction in their schools with the implementation of the new system, which was launched in the 2011-12 school year as one of the nation’s first comprehensive, student outcomes-based methods of teacher evaluation.
Following the first year of evaluation implementation, Tennessee saw the largest-ever aggregate gains on statewide tests, as students scored higher across grade levels and subjects.
“Developing an effective model for evaluating educators is part of our system-wide efforts to develop better conditions for teaching and learning in Tennessee,” said Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. “We are encouraged by the results we’ve seen so far, and the department will continue to use feedback from stakeholders and measurable outcomes in classrooms to improve evaluations year after year.”
The report outlines recommendations designed to make the evaluation process more efficient; ensure the fair implementation of evaluations across districts; channel constructive feedback to struggling teachers and modify quantitative measures for some teachers to better gauge their impact in the classroom. The department has recommended incorporating individual value-added measures for teachers in more subject areas and reducing the use of school-wide value-added scores for teachers in non-tested grades and subjects.
The department’s recommendations follow a year of soliciting feedback from educators across the state. Officials had conversations with more than 7,500 teachers, held meetings with directors of schools from every district and visited more than 100 districts in person.
Through a survey by the Tennessee Consortium on Research, Evaluation and Development, the department also reviewed responses from 17,000 teachers and administrators.
Tennessee’s evaluation model has garnered the support of community members, who share the department’s desire to maintain quality instruction in Tennessee schools.
“Tennessee has made such important strides this year with its new teacher evaluation system, and as a community, we must continue to stay the course with these reforms,” said Ellen Register, Executive Director of the Tennessee Business Roundtable. “Ensuring the quality and effectiveness of Tennessee’s teachers benefits our students, employers and the entire state.”
Elements of the revisions will require approval from the General Assembly and the State Board of Education, which will meet July 27. The full report can be found on the department website.