Indiana Teacher Evaluations Call for State, Local Cooperation, Report Says

(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

A new report from the INTASS Center on Education and Lifelong Learning at Indiana University has analyzed teacher evaluation systems in the state in an effort to influence the ongoing policy discussion concerning how to best ensure the development and implementation of evaluation plans that will support teacher evaluation and the needs of students.

The report, “An Analysis of Indiana District Evaluation Plans,” made use of information obtained from a review of teacher evaluation plans in the state for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years, which used the principles and practices of the Indiana Teacher Appraisal System of Supports (INTASS).  The audit is a continuation of the work conducted by the State Board of Education Design Committee, which was created after a TNTP review of the teacher evaluation model currently in use in the state.

The authors suggest that the development and implementation of high quality teacher evaluation plans are more likely to occur if everyone involved has a clear understanding of the purpose and expectations behind the plan, which they say is to offer teachers the support necessary to deliver instruction in an effective manner.  In order for this to happen, policy goals and means must be made clear in order to reduce fear and anxiety.  In addition, the authors say the policy change must be practical to implement and it must provide teachers with recognizable ways to put it into practice.

The report goes on to say that teachers have the right to fully understand the details surrounding the evaluation plan in their district, the confidence that the plan will be implemented correctly, and the expectation that the plan will offer the support they need to successfully help students learn.

Meanwhile, at the policy level, the report suggests that states need to be confident in the technical abilities of their educator evaluators, considering that the evaluation results may be used to make decisions concerning personnel and compensation.  The report says that there must be a balance between state and local control to offer a framework with certain aspects mandated by the state while others are handled on a local level.

The authors go on to say that one problem that a lack of standardization in plans can present is the inability to compare teachers effectively across districts.  They suggest that in order to handle this issue, states should ensure that evaluations compliment the accountability and effective teaching and learning through factors that will determine the effectiveness of the plan as well as how it is implemented.  They say that consistency and accuracy of evaluation data should be ensured throughout the state.

The report concludes by saying that assistance should be offered to districts that support the organizational culture and climate during the plan development and implementation processes.  They argue that doing so will result in improved implementation fidelity in the teacher evaluation process and more support for teachers and students that will help both groups to succeed.