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January 26, 2015

Changes to evaluation system beneficial

As teachers are beefing up on the latest techniques on how to educate our children this coming fall, school districts are considering changes to how teachers are evaluated. Effective with the 2014-15 school year districts may choose an alternative teacher evaluation framework. The new options were amended into HB 362 as the bill worked it’s way through the legislature.

The teacher evaluation provisions went through a vigorous process, and countless changes before it was signed by the governor. Collaboration with teachers, principals, school superintendents, school board members, and education reformers throughout the state allowed for an inclusive process while providing alternatives for local school districts. These changes are a result of concerns raised by the complexities of the new teacher evaluation system instituted in schools during the last school year.

Next school year, each district can decide to continue to use the existing framework which weights teacher performance and student progress at 50 percent each or use the alternative framework which weights teacher performance and student progress at 42.5 percent each, with the additional 15 percent drawn from options such as student surveys, peer review, student portfolios, or other items approved by the Ohio Department of Education.

Additionally, teachers rated as “skilled”, are not required to be evaluated annually unless their student progress data is below average.  Teachers rated as “accomplished” are excused from annual evaluation under the existing framework, but must also maintain student progress at the average level or higher to continue to be excused from annual evaluation. No change was made to the requirement that those teachers exempt from an annual evaluation must still have at least one formal observation and conference with the principal each school year.

Giving administrators flexibility will help focus their limited time and resources where it is most needed.  Evaluations will be targeted where they can bring the most improvement and better serve the school district as a whole.

The state of Ohio has a long and proud history of supporting local control of primary and secondary education. Providing local districts multiple tools and the flexibility to use them as they think best is a common sense approach to ensure quality educational opportunities for every student.


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