Connecticut

A number of districts have been chosen this year to pilot teacher evaluation plans that conform to the new state guidelines.  Districts that are not piloting this year have been convening committees to plan for next school year, when all districts must have a plan to implement teacher evaluation. The guidelines call for a 50/50 split between measuring teacher practice and impact on students.

Impact on Students:

45% of the student impact sects will be determined by the use of a combination of district designed and commercially produced standardized tests. 5% will happen in the form of parent and student surveys concerning teacher practice.

Teacher Practice:

Discipline-specific observers are being trained to assist administrators. 40% will be based on teacher created goals and observation. 10% will be based on peer and administrator feedback. 10% percent of the teacher practice half of the evaluation could be inclusive of the school profile index, or school accountability measure. This profile index does not include any information on arts education in Connecticut as of now, but Connecticut arts leaders have advocated for the inclusion of this information.  

Student Growth in Music:

The Connecticut Department of Education does not intend for arts educators to be evaluated on state-wide standardized test scores, although final decisions will be made at the district level.  Connecticut has begun piloting new Connecticut Common Arts Assessments that will compliment the tasks previously created and piloted and for which student work has been collected.  By the end of this school year, they will have tasks that cover the three artistic processes in music and visual arts for grades 2-8. Educators from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are also creating and piloting these tests.  The Connecticut Department of Education seems open to the idea of promoting the use of these assessments to superintendents for the evaluation of arts educators. More information is available at: http://www.connecticutseed.org/ Sample evaluations can be found here.  

From a Connecticut teacher working in a district implementing a teacher evaluation system based on Charlotte Danielson’s book, Enhancing Professional Practice (2nd ed.).

Pluses:

-very specific, detailed rubrics for every domain being assessed

-a focus on student-centered learning -goal-based professional development (we’ll see how this is actually implemented, but it’s good in theory)

-administrator’s evaluation being tied to those of the teachers

-a scheduled mid-year “check-in” for adjusting goals if necessary (safety net)  

Minuses:

-for teachers like me who teach a large number of varied classes, it is difficult to create a legitimate goal that address the required “significant percentage” of students

-instead of one goal/focus for the year, now we must have at least one student learning goal, professional practices goal, AND a goal tied to the whole school goal. This all means lots more paperwork.

-a huge (impossible?) time commitment for administrators to be doing observations.