teachers to be watched and graded
on classroom performance… and many are OK with that
January 4, 2012
Ohio -- Teachers across
Ohio should expect a lot more criticism of their classroom work in the
principals will be in their
classrooms more. Or their assistant principals, or even outside
watching them, taking notes and essentially grading the teachers.
expect glowing reviews either,
or the perfunctory check mark in the column marked “Satisfactory.” Each
will be graded as Accomplished, Effective, Developing or Ineffective
will even be fired if they don’t improve their marks over time.
going to take a little bit of
adjustment for some people,” said Deb Tully, director of professional
for the Ohio Federation of Teachers, one of the two large teachers
the state. “I don’t know a lot of people who want to be told they’re
OK when they put their heart and soul into it.”
teachers aren’t complaining much
-- not about this part of their new state-required evaluations, at
see potential for the classroom observation, and the coaching and
should follow, as a chance for constructive criticism, not just
what state officials say they
want to happen. Tom Gunlock, vice president of the Ohio Board of
said the teacher evaluation framework the board passed in November, and
will be used statewide by the 2013-14 school year, is meant to find the
strengths and weaknesses of teachers and help teachers improve their
thinks this is a cut and
dried attempt to fire teachers,” Gunlock said. “That is the least of
the OFT says some teachers may be
fired deservedly - if they’re poor teachers and don’t improve after
they document that someone truly
doesn’t get better, I’m totally comfortable with that,” Tully said.
the classroom deserve the best teachers we can get for them.”
plan leaves a lot of leeway to
local districts, but sets a basic framework all must follow.
law passed last year requires
measures of student academic growth, like standardized tests and the
Added measure, to make up 50 percent of a teacher’s rating. The state
still working on what tests it can use along with the Ohio Achievement
Assessment tests now given and how to measure growth in grades and
that are not tested.
said he hopes to have a list
of measures early next year that districts can use along with Value
those measures draw criticism
from teachers, the state plan for the other 50 percent of the rating
board in November required
districts to evaluate teachers with at least two 30-minute visits to
classroom each year, in addition to shorter stops in the classroom. It
calls for teachers to be evaluated based on educator standards the
in 2005. Those standards were set with input from teachers.
are things we pretty much
agreed make a teacher a good, solid teacher,” said Tully. She also said
longer classroom visits by evaluators are better for teachers than the
pass-throughs that often occur now.
how much weight is given to
different factors - like the learning environment a teacher creates or
a teacher collaborates with others - will be up to districts.
said 139 districts are doing
full evaluations of teachers now to test-drive the plan.
a district does its own
evaluation of a teacher using the observations and the 2005 standards,
results are then used along with the student growth measures to set the
teacher’s overall rating. The state has set a matrix for how those two
must be combined that puts teachers in the highest and lowest
if they excel or fail in each half.
Cleveland school district is
starting its own teacher evaluation plan this year in 23 schools that
chief Eric Gordon says fits within the state plan. Gordon said instead
a quick checklist that a principal can fill out on a short visit or
teachers evaluate themselves and principals visit classrooms multiple
often gathering student work or materials created by the teacher, for a
teacher and administrator will
compare evaluations and talk about how they differ. Gordon said the
is meant to go beyond just impressions of an observer.
really important that the
evaluator find evidence to support claims, rather than just saying it’s
opinion,” Gordon said. “They have to say, ‘I observed this,’ or ‘I
the highest-rated teachers can
be observed every two years, all others must be observed yearly. Those
- and the discussions and coaching that follow - pose a significant
many educators say.
or assistant principals
will need to spend the extra time with each teacher, which adds to
or cuts into other tasks. Julie Davis, executive director of the Ohio
Association of Elementary School Administrators, said principals would
be in classrooms but their days are often consumed with safety or
issues, parents, discipline and other daily duties.
reality, as much as they’d like to
do this, there are other demands,” Davis said, noting that many
already cut assistant principals to save money. “Something has to give
said, however, that the state
board considers the classroom more important than other issues
there’s some other stuff you’re
doing, but you have to let other people do it,” he said.
state also wants to make sure any
evaluator, principal or not, understands the state standards and has
perspective outside their district, so the Ohio Department of Education
requiring every evaluator to be certified.
will require each evaluator to
take a course over a few days. Gunlock said prospective evaluators will
watch videotape of a teacher and write evaluations. The trainer will
evaluate the taped lesson and compare the evaluations. Prospective
will have to pass a test to be certified, he said.
state has not decided who will pay
for the training. The Department of Education has begun its search for
trainers, many of whom will be set up through county Educational
this and other articles at the
Cleveland Plain Dealer