§3012-e?

Beginning in the spring of 2017, NYSED will create committees comprised of stakeholders, practitioners, and experts in the field to provide recommendations on assessments and evaluations that could be used for evaluations in the future. Committees organized by topic area will review all important components currently and potentially in teacher/principal evaluations including the current landscape of options being employed nationally as well as review the existing structure of the NYS evaluation system. A proposal for an evaluation system will be brought to the Board in the spring of 2018 for 2019-2020 implementation.

If we could create a system for teacher and leader evaluation from scratch, what would it include? The Aspen Institute presented a whitepaper to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) with their recommendations:

  1. Prioritize principal and evaluator training and certification with a focus on professional growth
  2. Differentiate evaluation and support based on teachers’ experience and past performance
  3. Allow teachers and observers to collaborate on areas of focus
  4. Allow for local discretion in accounting for student learning
  5. Respect the limitations of value-added data
  6. Support locally developed measures while pursuing improvements in their creation and use
  7. Make sure all important aspects of teaching performance are valued in evaluations
  8. Engage teachers in improving teacher evaluation systems
  9. Develop measures for testing the integrity of evaluation system design and implementation
  10. Tell stories that go beyond performance ratings

These ten recommendations were the “advice” that the Aspen Institute presented to the CCSSO with the purpose on informing and influencing state policy. Most of these recommendations are good ones and would probably be supported by the field. A few, however, are unlikely to received widespread support. Value-added measures, the application of growth scores, and use of SLOs are particularly problematic and could remain a hindrance to a new, widely accepted process.

Missing from their recommendations, however, was the important shift from a business capital basis to an approach that reflects what we know works: Professional Capital (Human, Social, and Decisional Capital). As Hargreaves and Fullan have pointed out, a business model emphasizes short term profits and quick returns. A short term focus, however, doesn’t work in an educational system designed to work over decades of a person’s life. Carrots and sticks, lists and ratings, merit pay and improvement plans don’t work in such a system. As long as our APPR system is based on this construct, it can’t work. Deming pointed this out to us years ago and Dan Pink elaborated on motivation more recently in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us.

Our future APPR system should be based on the constructs of human capital, social capital, and decisional capital (Hargreaves and Fullan, 2012). Human capital is what an individual knows and can do. Social capital is how the educators effectively work together toward student learning and continuous improvement goals. Research has shown that social capital is far more powerful, when it comes to influencing learning and achievement, than human capital. Decisional capital is the skill and expertise that is developed over years of effective teaching and productive collaboration.

If we want an APPR system that will actually result in increased student learning and better teaching and leading, the fundamental basis has to shift from a business capital to a professional capital orientation. A look at the recommendations from the Aspen Institute listed above could be categorized by where it is based on a business capital or professional capital foundation:

Business Capital

  1. Allow for local discretion in accounting for student learning
  2. Respect the limitations of value-added data
  3. Support locally developed measures while pursuing improvements in their creation and use
  4. Develop measures for testing the integrity of evaluation system design and implementation

Professional Capital

  1. Prioritize principal and evaluator training and certification with a focus on professional growth
  2. Differentiate evaluation and support based on teachers’ experience and past performance
  3. Allow teachers and observers to collaborate on areas of focus
  4. Make sure all important aspects of teaching performance are valued in evaluations
  5. Engage teachers in improving teacher evaluation systems
  6. Tell stories that go beyond performance ratings

As we start to think about 3012-“e,” we should first think about the foundation upon which an evaluation system should be built. Let’s do that before we fall right back into a paradigm which we know won’t (and can’t) work.

Craig_Jeff_150px

Jeff Craig, Ed.D.
jcraig@ocmboces.org

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