October 22, 2013
Teachers who were worried that the state’s new evaluation rules could put them at risk of being fired can exhale now. Almost no one was rated ineffective in the first round of ratings under the new rules, state education officials announced today.
Just 1 percent of teachers across the state — excluding New York City — were rated ineffective last year, according to the data, Another 4 percent were rated “developing,” which signals that teachers should receive additional support.
Fully half of teachers earned the state’s highest rating, “highly effective,” and another 42 percent were deemed “effective.”
The new evaluation system, unveiled in conjunction with new standards for students, was meant to distinguish teacher quality and resolve the disconnect between teachers’ almost uniformly high ratings and the state’s low college readiness rate.
That did not happen this year. While 92 percent of teachers were highly effective or effective, just 31 percent of students in the state were deemed to be on track for college and careers.
State education officials said the disconnect now shows that tougher academic standards do not prevent teachers from demonstrating excellence, despite what some teachers had feared. “The results are striking,” Commissioner John King said in a statement. “The more accurate student proficiency rates on the new Common Core assessments did not negatively affect teacher ratings.”
Preliminary rating data the state released over the summer suggested that more teachers were in danger of earning low ratings. That data reflected only the 20 percent of ratings that are based on state “growth scores” and only the fifth of teachers who work in tested grades and subjects. It showed that 6 percent of the teachers were ineffective and another 6 percent were highly effective.
Districts can move to fire teachers who earn “ineffective” ratings two years in a row under the state’s new evaluation rules, written into law in 2010 as part of the state’s efforts to win funding in the federal Race to the Top competition.
New York City teachers are not included in the new data because the city did not have a teacher evaluation system in place last year because the city and teachers union were unable to agree on a plan, despite pressure from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Some city teachers did receive growth scores, which showed them outperforming teachers in the rest of the state.
In the rest of the state’s roughly 700 school districts, teachers were evaluated according to multiple measures that were split up among standardized state test scores, tests chosen locally, and observations from principals and other administrators. Some districts, such as Syracuse, also factored student surveys into teachers’ scores.
Districts had to compile the different components into single composite scores for each teacher and submit them to the state by last week.
The state’s presentation, made at this morning’s Board of Regents meeting, did not break down the composite ratings by the various measures that make up the scores. King said analyzing the evaluation subcomponents to understand why the state’s growth measure did not reflect the ultimate results would be a next step for his department.
Neither did the state’s presentation break the ratings down by district. Early indications suggest that scores could range widely across districts: In Syracuse, which released its scores earlier this month, just 60 percent of teachers received the higher ratings, and the teachers union is planning widespread appeals.