Executive Summary

Professional Growth and Educator Improvement: Risks and Mitigation

Teachers want to improve upon their skills and improve classroom instruction.  They want their students to succeed.  A vast majority of teachers desire an evaluation system that will help elevate their craft.  Sound professional development models individualized to evaluation results should be a key goal for a new system.


Examples of risks:

Risk Improvements in student performance from teacher professional development should be the ultimate goal of an evaluation program.  This goal may not receive the attention it deserves with the focus shifting toward controversial aspects of a new plan. Mitigation
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The planning and communications strategies should put a priority on incorporating proven professional development models.  The emphasis should be on providing teachers with support that improves classroom instruction.

Risk

 

It is critical that the evaluation program lead to tangible gains in student achievement within a few years of implementation after the system is established and operating smoothly.

Mitigation
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Policymakers need to closely monitor the professional development models to ensure each are effective and increasing teacher performance and to look for ways to improve the system.

Risk With the ultimate goal improvements in classroom instruction, a risk could be lack of true accountability in the system.  If student growth is not improving under an individual teacher, policymakers need to know why. Mitigation
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One approach could be tracking student growth of teachers under each evaluator to ensure they are providing constructive feedback.  The same tracking methods could be used for the professional development models to ensure accountability in both areas.
 

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