Monday | April 26, 2010

Meeting Overview and Purpose

Eugenia Kemble, Executive Director, Albert Shanker Institute

Uses Of Student Test Score Data: What Are States Doing? What Will They Do? What Are The Benefits And Risks For Students, Teachers And Learning?

Peg Goertz, Co-Director, Consortium for Policy Research in Education; Professor, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania

Peter McWalters, Interim Strategic Initiative Director for Education Workforce, Council of Chief State School Officers

The push is on to have states develop new standards-based student assessments and the Obama Administration is setting aside $350 million of its Race to the Top (RTTT) discretionary funds to help them. In RTTT proposals, many states have indicated that they intend to revamp testing programs based on new Common Core State Standards developed by the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and a number of other groups. Where will states be starting when it comes to new assessment development and how likely are they to make the best use of the Common Core State Standards? What implications do these developments hold for the use of student progress data in teacher evaluation and school accountability?

Where Does Teacher Evaluation Fit In the Big Picture: Where Has It Been And Where Is It Going In Relation To Standards/ Curriculum/ Assessments Reform?

Barnett Berry, President and CEO, Center for Teaching Quality

The Obama Administration’s new ESEA and Race to the Top education reform proposals encourage states to work to simultaneously redesign their standards and assessment tools, develop expansive data systems, craft new policies to ensure effective teaching—especially for poor students—and take serious steps to improve struggling schools. To what degree does the development of strong teacher evaluation policies depend upon the prior existence of clear academic standards, defined curriculum, and aligned assessments? To what extent do current proposals reflect the best research? What can states and districts do, responsibly, to improve their teacher evaluation systems in the timeframe mandated by state and federal mandates?

What Forms Of Student Progress Data Have A Legitimate Place In Teacher Evaluation?

Drew Gitomer, Distinguished Researcher, Educational Testing Service

Daniel Willingham, Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia

Teacher evaluation is central to many reform ideas being promoted by President Obama’s Education Department—such as designating effective teachers, assigning effective teachers to struggling schools, and awarding performance pay. Most states and their cooperating districts plan to use federal funds to design new forms of teacher evaluation. This session will delve more deeply into the multiple measures that are credible for evaluating teachers, and help participants think through how to design good systems. Special attention will be given to the tricky issue of using student test score data.

Beyond the Blame Game: The Importance Of Union/ District Support For Professional Teaching, Staff Evaluation, And Due Process

Randi Weingarten, President, Albert Shanker Institute and American Federation of Teachers

AFT President Randi Weingarten has argued that district administrators and union leaders need to establish working partnerships in order to develop new evaluation systems that help students and are fair to teachers. She notes that, once professional standards are in place that define what teachers need to know and are expected to be able to do, these partners will be in a better position to design systems that place appropriate emphasis on data related to student performance, administrator observations, student work, and peer review. President Weingarten will talk about what is needed in such systems and the political pressures affecting their development.

What Is Happening In The Trenches: Three Districts On The Cutting Edge

John Tarka, President, Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers & 
Mark Roosevelt, Superintendent, Pittsburgh School District

Jean Clements, President, Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association & 
David Steele, Chief Information and Technology Officer; Project Director, Empowering Effective Teachers Grant, Hillsborough County Public Schools

Jody Papini, Vice President, Douglas County Federation of Teachers & 
Steve Herzog, Interim Superintendent, Douglas County School District

Pittsburgh, PA, and Hillsborough County, FL, were recently announced as two of the winners of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “deep dive” education reform grants. These sizeable awards are intended to help districts develop new ways of measuring teacher performance with an eye to changing pay and retention practices. Local AFT leaders and district administrators have been working together in both districts to come up with solid plans. Meanwhile, in Douglas County, CO, the teachers union, school board, and school district recently signed an agreement to work as partners to create and implement a teacher development and evaluation system. The agreement commits the partners to work together to develop a continuous improvement model for teacher development and evaluation, including multiple measures by which to evaluate teacher performance and student learning. This session should provide early lessons for others seeking to go down a similar path.