Executive Summary

Playbook FAQ

What is the Playbook?

The Playbook provides resources and examples of good practice on how to build a teacher evaluation program. It sets out to provide specific policy ideas to education officials while giving teachers suggestions on how they can get involved and help shape what evaluations look like.  The Playbook is based on the experiences primarily of two states already heavily involved in reform, Delaware and Tennessee, with plans to add information from other states as reforms progress.  The Playbook is focused on the need to deeply involve educators throughout the planning and implementation process of new evaluation systems.

Why is the Playbook necessary?

Because teacher-evaluation reform is a relatively new movement, very little technical assistance or best-practice advice is available.  Realizing resources might be useful, Hope Street Group designed an online one-stop resource center to help states, school districts, policymakers, administrators, and teachers plan and design quality educator evaluation programs.   It makes good sense to track and compile what has worked and what hasn’t when it comes to evaluation reforms so policymakers can learn how other states have overcome obstacles and build the best systems possible.

How was the Playbook developed?

The information in the Playbook is based on months of research, over 200 pages of interviews with teachers, administrators, private-sector consultants, union leaders, policymakers, education officials, input from the Hope Street Group Teacher Fellows, and more.  The responses from the interviews along with other research ultimately resulted in the step-by-step checklists for teachers and policymakers and the five key issue areas giving insight into evaluation reforms.

How can I give feedback on the Playbook?

Hope Street Group will constantly update and improve the Playbook.  Thus, your feedback and your ideas are very important to us. Please click here to share any ideas, concerns, improvements, etc. you might have after exploring the Playbook to help us make it better.

If you would like to share a personal experience or a story regarding evaluation reform, please click here.

Who can I contact if I have questions about the Playbook?

Click here to ask specific questions about the Playbook and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Evaluation reform seems difficult.  Is it necessary?

Most employers have some type of formal evaluation process for their workers. Evaluations are a necessary step to providing constructive feedback to employees so they know how to improve on the job.  The teaching profession is no different.  In fact, most teachers have indicated they would like to see an evaluation program that will help them succeed in increasing student achievement.  The Association of American Educators surveyed teachers who are members of the organization and found that 80 percent of them supported educator evaluations that directly measure the impact their teaching has on students (value-added model).  Another report, the Widget Effect, found that many school districts use a binary rating system on evaluations, such as “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory,” with 99 percent of teachers achieving the “satisfactory” rating in these districts.  The majority of teachers, 73 percent, said such evaluations failed to provide any specific constructive feedback to improve classroom instruction.

Hope Street Group believes both students and teachers deserve better.  Teachers should benefit from fair and comprehensive evaluation systems that will help them grow professionally and improve in the classroom.  Quality evaluation programs that provide professional development and constructive feedback have the potential to elevate the teaching profession and lead to greater learning in the classroom, benefiting students.

After extensive research in states embarking on reforms, however, it is apparent that implementing new evaluation programs is a difficult process requiring patience and perseverance.  Private-sector consultants say it can take several years to work out the wrinkles and issues in a new program.  Thus, policymakers and educators should expect some rough patches in the beginning but should view the reform effort as a long-term investment that will pay off in the long run.

What are the most difficult aspects of evaluation reforms?

Developing assessments in the non-tested grades and subjects (NTGS), for example, has proven a difficult task for states that can take a great deal of time and resources.  Communicating the details and goals of a new evaluation program – which is a necessary element to gaining educator support for the program – to all of a state’s teachers is also not an easy task.

The Playbook has specific step-by-step suggestions on how to begin designing assessments for NTGS teachers.  It also has sample talking points on how to explain the goals of a new evaluation program that you can access in detail by clicking here: Guidance for Policy Makers.

What is the goal of teacher evaluation reform?

The main goal of an evaluation program should be to support teachers with both constructive feedback and quality professional development AND increase student achievement.

Why should teachers get involved in evaluation reform?

Teachers are the heroes on the front lines in the effort to educate our nation's children.  They have the most impact on student learning. Teachers also have the most to gain from a quality evaluation program.  Teachers will know what type of feedback and incentives will be most helpful in an evaluation.  Building an evaluation program alongside teachers will also help ensure their buy in when evaluations are launched.

The Federal Government and Teacher Evaluation

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