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home : most recent : statewide implications August 17, 2017

6/7/2017 12:32:00 PM
Survey: Teachers believe local evaluations to determine pay are fairer than before

Scott L. Miley, Herald Bulletin CNHI Statehouse Bureau

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana teachers are becoming more confident in the local evaluations that determine compensation and personnel issues; however, a report to be submitted Wednesday suggests the process should be rebranded to avoid perception that it is punitive.

In 2014, about 49 percent of the teachers surveyed felt confident that their district evaluators, who use processes developed locally, clearly communicated the procedures. In the winter of 2016, that confidence level jumped to 60 percent.

But teachers are less likely than principals and superintendents in believing that their districts fairly tie teacher performance to compensation.

In 2014, 22 percent of teachers agreed that their districts were fair in tying the two together. In 2016, 36 percent agreed.

Similarly, 65 percent of superintendents agreed that the tie-ins were fair in 2014, but that dropped to 53 percent in 2016.

The report, submitted to the State Board of Education, is a follow-up to a 2014 online survey of teachers, principals and superintendents by the Indiana Teacher Appraisal and Support System, which helps districts design evaluation programs.

The survey focused on teacher evaluations created by Public Law 90, which went into effect in July 2011 and had specific requirements for the annual evaluation. Most districts have implemented the system as 200 now are in their fifth year.

Among the survey findings:

• There is inconsistency with plan quality and implementation with critical aspects of the law not being implemented in many districts.

• Superintendents, principals and teachers differ in their perceptions of the law, its necessity, its usefulness and impact, and the relationships between teacher evaluation, student outcomes and compensation.

• Although the vast majority of teachers are still being rated as highly effective and effective, there is a notable shift from highly effective to the majority of teachers being evaluated as effective.

Among recommendations, the report's authors said, "A rebranding of the teacher evaluation should be made at the state level in order to truly inform teachers the sole purpose of the evaluation legislation, to improve instruction in the classroom. The message for teachers should be that the evaluation system is one to support their profession and not one to rate them on a 1-4 value once a year."

According to the report: "The current framework could be seen as unfair and punishing for those rated improvement necessary but who have a chance to become effective or highly effective teachers with additional professional growth opportunities."

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