TN Education Reform hits Bump in Teacher Evaluation

Marion Herbert's picture
Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tennessee’s new way of evaluating classrooms “systematically failed” to identify bad teachers and provide them more training, according to a state report.

The Tennessee Department of Education found that instructors who got failing grades when measured by their students’ test scores tended to get much higher marks from principals who watched them in classrooms. State officials expected to see similar scores from both methods.

“Evaluators are telling teachers they exceed expectations in their observation feedback when in fact student outcomes paint a very different picture,” the report states. “This behavior skirts managerial responsibility.”

The data revealed:

• More than 75 percent of teachers received scores of 4 or 5 — the highest possible — from their principals, compared with 50 percent scoring 4 or 5 based on student learning gains measured on tests.

• Fewer than 2.5 percent scored a 1 or 2 when observed, while 16 percent scored a 1 or 2 when judged by learning gains.

• Of teachers who received the learning gains score of 1, the average observational score was, on average, 3.6.

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