Educators criticizing evaluations
by JOYANNA WEBER, Banner Staff Writer
Jan 13, 2012 | 1577 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bradley County Board of Education passed a resolution in opposition to the current teacher evaluation system used by Tennessee during a meeting Thursday.

The “Resolution to express lack of confidence in the Tennessee Educator Assessment Model (TEAM) to assess teacher effectiveness in the classroom” states the board supports teacher evaluations, but feels the current system is not an effective model.

“Whereas, the Charlotte Danielson Model upon which the TEAM process was based was intended to improve teacher performance over time and was not intended to measure effectiveness ... the Bradley County board of Education expresses lack of confidence in the Tennessee Assessment Model ... as presently defined and used to assess teacher effectiveness in the classroom,” the resolution states.

In the resolution, the board also lists other problems with the current system, such as lack of and inconsistent training of evaluators, teachers’ scores being influenced by students they have never taught and overall lack of explanation.

Many teachers and principals present at Thursday’s meeting showed their support for the resolution by applauding after it was read.

“The resolution will be sent to state Sen. (Mike) Bell and our two state legislators, Mr. (Kevin) Brooks and Mr. (Eric) Watson,” board Chairman Charlie Rose said.

The board’s unanimous vote on the subject comes one week after local teachers met with Bell and Brooks to express their views on the subject. At that time, many teachers expressed concerns about inconsistencies in how the evaluations were being implemented across the state and how scores were calculated.

Teacher evaluations were implemented to fulfill part of Race to the Top grant requirements. These evaluations were later linked to tenure, requiring that teachers score in the 4 to 5 range on a 5-point scale two consecutive years before being eligible for tenure. Although the evaluations were required by state legislation, the TEAM model was chosen by the Tennessee Department of Education and was not reviewed by the legislators before being enacted.

The state Legislature returned to Nashville on Wednesday and is expected to consider changes to the current system.

The evaluations use a rubric which measures an observed lesson against criteria and state standards. Teachers have said the rubrics are unrealistic and try to measure too much information in too short a period of time. Fifty percent of a teacher’s score is derived from these observations, 15 percent is from student achievement data and 35 percent is from the student growth score of the school.

Bradley County Board of Education members also plan to voice their concerns to local legislators about current and future changes to education during about the Tennessee School Board Association’s annual Day on the Hill.