Updated Wed, Jun 18, 2014 11:40 am
Following one year of the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES), changes are being put in effect for the 2014-15 school year.
The changes will effect the frequency of some evaluations and the structure with which the evaluations are comprised.
Changes approved on June 3 by the Ohio Legislature will allow a change in the frequency at which some educators are evaluated. The board of education may elect to evaluate teachers who receive a rating of "accomplished" every three years, while teachers receiving a "skilled" rating may be evaluated every two years. The longer time between evaluations is contingent on the teacher's student academic growth measure being average or higher for the most recent school year.
In the year(s) in which the teacher is not formally evaluated, at least one observation of the teacher and one conference with the teacher shall be held. Teachers who have been on leave for 50 percent or more of the school year, or who have submitted their notice of retirement by Dec. 1 may not be evaluated if the board of education so chooses.
OTES includes the use of a pre-conference, observation and post-conference, with all steps completed twice per year for each teacher by a certified evaluator (often the building principal).
"It was time consuming this year," said Trimble High School Principal Matt Curtis.
While it may have taken more time, the system was not necessarily a bad thing.
"With the focus more on the pre-conference, observation and post-conference, it is good to have that conversation, to know what to look for and why the teacher may do certain things," continued Curtis.
Curtis added that the process should be quicker the second time around even without the changes, but stated, "it will be nice not to have to do all the teacher's evaluations twice a year. It will ease the burden."
Changes are also coming to the way evaluations are scored.
For the 2013-14 school year, half of a teacher’s evaluation was based on classroom observations and the other half on how much his or her students learn in a year.
For the 2014-15 school year, a district or school may select the previous model or the alternative model. The alternative model will place 42.5 percent on the teacher performance measure and 42.5 percent on the student academic growth measure. The remaining 15 percent is to be made up of one of the following components — student surveys, teacher self-evaluations, peer review evaluations or student portfolios.
In the following years, a district or school may choose 50 percent from both teacher performance and student academic growth or the alternative model. The alternative model will place 42.5 to 50 percent on the teacher performance measure and 42.5 to 50 percent on the student academic growth measure. The two percentages must be equal to one another. The remaining percent is to be made up of one of the following components — student surveys, teacher self-evaluations, peer review evaluations or student portfolios.
With or without the changes being made, Curtis said it is the conversation that is important.
"It is important so that the teachers know they have the support system and the administration knows what is taking place in the classrooms," he said.