A new study finds that teachers who are evaluated improve during the evaluation year and in the following years.
The study by economists Eric Taylor and John Tyler, under the auspices of the National Bureau of Economic Research, was first highlighted by Andrew Rotherham on Eduwonk. Taylor and Tyler used data from Cincinnati, Ohio schools and tracked teachers during the years they were evaluated and in subsequent years. Rotherham suggests that the results of the study show that teachers used their evaluation feedback to improve their work. That could be the case, but I also think continued improvement could be a result of the old adage, “What gets measured gets done.”
The teachers evaluated in the study had at least five years’ experience, enough to have learned a few things about classroom management but not so much that they had lost their enthusiasm to try new instructional techniques. Teachers were evaluated through observation, not by test scores.
In other news, another facet of Ohio Senate Bill 5 signed into law this month eliminates salary schedules and step increases for 110,000 public school teachers statewide according to the Plain Dealer. While other states have experimented with merit pay on top of contractual increases (with little success), this would be the first time that the only pay increases would be merit pay increases. Teacher performance will be judged by new standards developed by the state board of education, a decision that will allow us to see if the old joke, “I’m from State Ed and I’m here to help you” is still viable. I’m guessing it is.
The Ohio Board of Education is also developing yearly tests to gauge academic growth. Student achievement will account for 50% of a teacher’s evaluation. The entire evaluation will determine whether a teacher gets a raise, gets no increase, or is maybe even fired.
So let’s see: Armed with new statewide standards for teachers, the principal marches into every classroom every year to make an observation which may eventually determine a teacher’s fate. Sounds simple. Let’s hope that both teacher and principal agree on what constitutes a strong classroom performance.