SCORE Evaluation - Full Report | Page 13

Supporting Effective Teaching in Tennessee: Listening and Gathering Feedback on Tennessee’s Teacher Evaluations Educators are receiving more regular and specific feedback on their performance. Teachers responding to SCORE’s online questionnaire cited the insight they gain on their classroom performance as the greatest benefit of the new evaluation system. When asked to name three positive aspects of the evaluation system, 33 percent of teacher respondents indicated that “it gives me a much clearer idea of my individual strengths and areas for growth.” Teachers consistently said that they appreciated the timeliness of the feedback they received from evaluators after being observed. One teacher shared, “It is beneficial for me to pinpoint the areas I need to improve in. In the old system it was generic, but this is very specific about what I need to work on and recommendations around how to do that.”16 Teachers, principals, district leaders, and other educators consistently agreed that one of the most powerful results of the evaluation system has been the feedback conversations between teachers and evaluators. In a survey conducted by Project COACH in Hamilton County, 95 percent of administrators and 73 percent of teachers felt an increased level of trust and collaboration with their teachers / building administrators as a result of the mini-observations that occurred this school year.17 Teachers across the state frequently said that their school administrators have taken a greater interest in their work, and 25 percent of teachers who responded to SCORE’s online questionnaire “The single biggest positive has cited this aspect as one of the features they liked best about the new been the conversations I’ve had system. During one roundtable, an administrator said, “This is openwith my faculty. I wouldn’t trade ing the dialogue versus in the past where we were in for a minute, those one-on-one conversations signed a form, and were out.”18 Another roundtable participant said: for anything.” “The most valuable piece is the conversation before and after – the – Roundtable principal participant conversations are phenomenal. They are rich; they are powerful. Teachers say, ‘How can I make this better? What did you see? How can I improve?’”19 A principal said, “The single biggest positive has been the conversations I’ve had with my faculty. I wouldn’t trade those one-on-one conversations for anything.”20 The Teacher Effectiveness Measure (TEM) implemented in Memphis City Schools incorporates student feedback on teacher performance as an additional qualitative input, weighted at 5 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. Memphis is part of the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) research project, which found the Tripod student survey results (developed by Ronald F. Ferguson and provided by Cambridge Education) to be “highly reliable…and also stable for a given teacher during the school year.”21 A teacher from the Memphis and Shelby County roundtable shared her appreciation for the inclusion of student feedback in her evaluation by stating, “I love the idea of getting my students’ feedback. Nobody is with me more than those students. They’re with me 180 days and, in all reality, they know better than anyone what I’m doing in the classroom.”22 Clear expectations and regular feedback are leading to more self-reflection and collaboration among teachers. Equipped with clear performance expectations and regular opportunities for feedback, teachers consistently spoke about being more intentional about their practice this year. Several shared that they are reflecting on their instruction and the state content standards more in order to pinpoint what they need to do to help their students achieve at higher levels. One teacher said, “I am a lot more conscious about my teaching and my everyday instruction. It has caused me to be more aware of my students’ participation in the learning process. I’m more astute about their responses to my instruction.”23 One district leader said, “Neither teachers nor principals have ever been more intentional and purposeful about what they’re doing.”24 Educators consistently said the evaluation system is enabling more self-reflection and purpose around instruction for many educators across the state. Educators said the TIGER (Teacher Instructional Growth for Effectiveness and Results) model has additional design features that encourage further self-reflection among teachers. Teachers using the TIGER model engage in detailed self-reflection at the beginning of the year, assessing themselves on the entire rubric. That self-assessment then forms the basis of their professional growth plans and ongoing coaching throughout the year. Key Themes from Feedback Collected Across the State 11