Teacher Demographics and Evaluation: A Descriptive Study in a Large Urban District

By Jessica Bailey, Candice Bocala, Karen Shakman, Jacqueline Zweig

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Description

Some public concern had been expressed that racial/ethnic minority teachers may be more likely than other teachers to be identified for possible dismissal based on a lower performance rating.

Using data from one urban public school district, this REL Northeast & Islands study examines teacher summative performance evaluation ratings disaggregated by teacher characteristics, including race/ethnicity, age, and gender.

Key findings based on an analysis of teacher ratings from three years (2012/13–2014/15) include:

  • The characteristics of teachers in each of the three years included a disproportionately large percentage of Black teachers, teachers age 50 and older, and male teachers rated below proficient compared with the percentage of those demographics in the population of teachers with a summative performance rating
  • In all three years the percentage of teachers with a summative performance rating who were rated below proficient was higher among Black teachers than among White teachers, although the gap was smaller in 2013/14 and 2014/15
  • In all three years the percentage of teachers with a summative performance rating who were rated below proficient was higher among teachers age 50 and older than among teachers younger than age 50
  • In all three years the difference in the percentage of male and female teachers with a summative performance rating who were rated below proficient was approximately 5 percentage points or less
  • The percentage of teachers who improved their rating during all three year-to-year comparisons did not vary by race/ethnicity, age, or gender

These findings suggest the need for further research on the potential causes of the gaps identified, as well as strategies for ameliorating them.

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