Teacher ratings would be kept private

Teacher ratings would be kept private

(Ky.) A new evaluation system being considered by the Kentucky Board of Education for teachers and principals would not be used to make personnel decisions until the 2015-16 school year and would hold individual ratings private.

Student test scores would be one of several measures that would be used but scores would be restricted to three years of data to express a growth trend rather than a hard, single point in time evaluation. The system would also employ a peer review component but only to provide “supportive feedback” teachers can use to improve professional practice.

“This is a game changer for teachers and students in Kentucky,” state board member Brigitte Blom Ramsey said in a statement. “A new system is absolutely necessary if we are to continue moving forward.”

The proposed system is required under the state’s agreement with the U.S. Department of Education for both a Race to the Top grant and a waiver from key mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Several states have been identified by the department as being at risk of losing their waivers because of struggles to implement an acceptable teacher evaluation tool – they are Oregon, Washington, Kansas and Arizona.

The Kentucky proposal would establish a “professional practice rating” using classroom observations of trained evaluators. Student input would also be included, based on a state-approved “perception survey” that would be administered each year focusing on “specific aspects of the classroom experience and of teaching practice.”

The system would also utilize “professional growth plans” and “self-reflection,” both aimed at promoting continuous improvement.

The plan is to impose similar evaluation elements to school principals based on six categories: instructional leadership, school climate, human resources management, organizational management, communication and community relations, and professionalism.

There is also a plan in the works to establish a system for evaluating district superintendents.

The proposed system is set for adoption at the board’s April meeting.

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