How Are Teacher Evaluation Data Used in Five Arizona Districts?
This REL West study describes how five Arizona school districts are using teacher evaluation data to inform their decisions concerning teacher professional development, compensation, school and classroom assignment, remediation, and retention.
During the 2014/15 school year the study districts administered their own new teacher evaluation systems, which were developed to align with state evaluation regulations passed in 2011.
WestEd researchers developed a case study for each of the five districts and then summarized common practices and perceptions across districts related to the use of evaluation data.
Findings were drawn from interviews with district officials and instructional coaches, and online surveys of school principals and teachers.
- Evaluation data shape the work of instructional coaches and the support opportunities (books, webinars, and online videos) suggested for teachers
- Observation data are perceived by school and district leaders as more useful for professional development decisions than student test results because they are collected over repeated occasions and made available during the school year
- Online systems facilitate timely observation-based feedback
- Teachers view themselves as responsible for their own professional growth and are somewhat skeptical of school- and districtwide professional development
- Evaluation data are not systematically used to identify teacher leaders or to assign teachers to schools or classrooms, but such data serve as the basis for decisions on remediation and allocation of state performance pay funds
- Teachers were more skeptical than administrators about the benefits of the new evaluations
These findings suggest positive benefits from the organizational structures that support the review of data during the school year — standards-based observation frameworks, benchmark assessments, professional learning communities, and instructional coaching and feedback.
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