Executive Summary

Innovation and Continuous Improvement: Risks and Mitigation

New evaluation systems will need adjustments and improvements especially during their first few years.  Educator input after each evaluation cycle will be crucial to building an effective program over the long term that raises student achievement.

Examples of risks:

Risk Developing and implementing a new educator evaluation program takes time and resources. Policy makers risk not thinking ahead after implementation to ensure the new system is working properly and improving each year. This is crucial in the first few years of the new program.

Mitigation
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Part of the planning stage should include how the evaluation system will be monitored and adjusted for improvements after each annual cycle. Some states may choose to keep educator working groups permanent while others might form new committees.  But there should be a plan in place for after implementation – with perhaps a working group to examine each crucial area, such as assessments, professional development, and communications.

Risk

Educator evaluations will impact teachers the most.  Their input will be crucial to continuous improvement.  It’s also critical that teachers continue to feel empowered to help shape the evaluation program and professional development models. Policymakers risk not engaging a significant percentage of the teaching force.

Mitigation
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States should keep all interactive communication channels used for the original development of the evaluation reform effort and constantly work to increase the number of teachers contributing to the discussion. Ideally, at least 10 percent of a state’s teachers should be providing feedback and input.

Risk Private-sector consultants who specialize in personnel evaluations warn that the first few years of implementation will be rough as problems in the system emerge, which stakeholders may not be expecting.  Support for the program is at risk in the short term as these problems arise. Mitigation
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Policymakers should brace stakeholders for a difficult transition and be prepared to respond quickly as problems in the system emerge.  This includes developing remedies for the issue as well as having in place a proactive communication strategy to explain it to stakeholders and the public.
 
       

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