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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Illinois State Board of Education: 50 percent of the teacher's final performance evaluation rating is based upon student growth
Student Growth. Section 50.210(a) repeats the statutory requirement of Section 24A-7 of the School Code that the State Performance Evaluation Model provide that student growth comprise 50 percent of the teacher's final performance evaluation rating.
The 50 percent threshold must be used by any district whose joint committee could not agree in its performance evaluation plan on the percentage of student growth to be used.
Assessments. Section 50.210(b) uses a Student Learning Objective (SLO) process as the mechanism to identify assessments that are appropriate for and collaboratively chosen by the teacher being evaluated and his or her qualified evaluator. Additionally, the SLO process is a supportable process to use to identify assessments to measure student growth of students with certain characteristics (e.g., special education placement, English language learners, low-income populations) to ensure that the assessments used to evaluate a teacher best measure the impact that the teacher has on these students’ academic achievement (see Section 50.210(c)).
The SLO process begins with the identification of two student learning goals (along with growth expectations for each) that are specific to the teacher's content/course of instruction and/or grade level of students taught. In response to concerns of IEA/IFT, the teacher being evaluated is given the opportunity to suggest four SLOs, which include the learning goal, growth expectation and assessment, to be considered for measuring the teacher's impact on student growth. The teacher and his or her qualified evaluator then collaboratively choose the two (or one, if only one assessment was the subject of joint committee disagreement) to be incorporated into the teacher's evaluation plan.
The learning goal or goals to be included in the evaluation plan must align to school wide or district wide initiatives or the school improvement plan, as those initiatives or goals relate to the teacher's content area of instruction. Further, any assessment chosen must validly measure student learning over time that is specific to the learning goal that each identified. The assessment chosen cannot be one about which the joint committee already disagreed, which will prevent the teacher/evaluator from becoming mired in the same issues that forced them to default to the State Performance Evaluation Model initially.
There is no prohibition, however, against using an assessment for which there was agreement of the joint committee if that assessment is appropriate for measuring student progress relative to the identified learning goal. Finally, in consideration of suggestions from both PEAC and IEA/IFT, the proposed rules require that a review of the growth expectations occur at the midpoint of the evaluation cycle to ensure that those expectations remain appropriate. If not, the growth expectations should be modified as may be necessary.
By way of supporting understanding of the SLO process, new Section 50.220 lists the minimum information that must be assembled as part of the process. While IEA/IFT encouraged the State Board to require school districts to use an agency-developed template as they progress through the SLO process, staff believe that flexibility is essential so that the SLO process adequately addresses the individual needs and goals of the teachers, school or district. A sample template will be posted on the agency's website. It may be used as is or adapted by school districts, as applicable to their particular circumstances.
While the SLO process was developed as a tool for classroom teachers to use for selecting and/or developing classroom assessments as part of the implementation of balanced assessment systems, its application to the performance evaluation process will help both the teacher and evaluator identify meaningful goals for student learning, encourage collaboration and understanding, and work to improve instructional effectiveness by monitoring student and teacher progress toward the learning goal. As noted above, its use for evaluating the impact teachers have on the academic growth of certain student populations with diverse learning needs helps to tailor evaluation systems to more effectively assess the performance of those teachers.
The proposed rule at Section 50.210(b)(4) also recognizes that agreement may not be reached between the teacher and his or her evaluator about the learning goal, growth expectations and/or assessments to be used to measure student growth. The proposed rule provides two options for making a final determination, which are dependent upon whether agreement is not reached on one or both SLOs. In the former situation when only one SLO is in dispute, the decision-making is given to another qualified evaluator in the district who is chosen collaboratively by the individuals who could not agree.
Additionally, specific timelines for action are proposed in the rule so that the student growth portion of the evaluation plan can be implemented in a timely fashion. In the latter situation when both SLOs are in dispute, the teacher chooses one of the SLOs to include and his or her qualified evaluator chooses the other SLO, with their decisions being final.
Rating Scale. The joint committee also must identify the ratings to be used for student growth, if those ratings are different than the categories of "unsatisfactory", "needs improvement", "proficient" and "excellent" required under Section 24A-5 of the School Code for the final performance evaluation rating assigned. If agreement is not reached in this regard, a school district under the State Performance Evaluation Model would be required to use the Section 24A-5 categories and apply them on the basis of the percentage of students who have met the growth target for the learning goal. (See Section 50.210(d) for specific percentage ranges.)
Performance Evaluation Rating. Although not specific to student growth and therefore, not required to be included in the State Performance Evaluation Model, Section 50.230 sets forth the performance evaluation ratings to be used that consider the 50/50 split that the performance evaluation rating will have between professional practice rating and student growth rating. When agreement is not reached in this regard, the school district would use the applicable combination of the professional practice rating and student growth rating set forth in Section 50.230 to determine a final rating of "unsatisfactory", "needs improvement", "proficient" and "excellent" to be assigned.