The Teacher Evaluation Legislation continues through the Legislative process with more tweaks. The House Education Committee submitted a substitute version of Senate Bill 229 the week of May 12 regarding teacher evaluations.
The Committee’s earlier substitute bill from March made sweeping changes to the Senate’s version and included many new provisions (see below for Senate version changes). The bill’s most recent iteration contains minor changes to the provisions from the March version, but it generally retains much of the same language. These changes generally apply to all school districts and are not specific to career-technical education programs.
Of note, the House Education Committee’s latest substitute bill:
- Does not exempt from collective bargaining the requirements for receiving/renewing a Department-issued credential to serve as an evaluator.
- Expressly permits collective bargaining on a district’s decision to use student surveys. This provision only applies to the board’s decision of whether or not to use surveys, however, and the alternative evaluation framework and the specific instruments remain outside of the scope of bargaining.
- Delays the use of student surveys as an evaluation component until the 2016–2017 school year.
- Permits student surveys to count for “up to” 20% of the total evaluation score as opposed to the previous all-or-nothing approach.
- Provides that teacher performance and student academic growth measures must account for the rest of the evaluation score at equal percentages (e.g., 10% student surveys + 45% teacher performance (observations) + and 45% student academic growth = Evaluation Score).
- Reinstates the Senate’s language giving boards authority to evaluate teachers who receive a rating of “accomplished” or “skilled” on their most recent evaluation once every three years (current law provides option for once every two years).
- Requires all teachers not subject to formal evaluation to receive academic growth measure scores, and provides that boards must evaluate any teacher in the year following his/her receipt of a “below average” or “least effective” academic growth score.
- Allows boards to choose not to evaluate a teacher when he/she has been on leave for 50% or more of the school year (previous version set the bar at 70%).
- Removes the requirement that teachers receiving an “effective” rating on their most recent evaluations must prepare and implement an improvement plan.
- Requires the Department of Education to develop student academic growth standards by July 1, 2016 that include (1) a method to calculate student growth using data from a single school year and (2) a method to calculate student growth from multiple school years that is “consistent and standardized statewide” if existing data is insufficient to produce an accurate score.
- Removes language prohibiting a district from assigning students to teachers who have been rated “ineffective” for two consecutive years.
Ohio ACTE Legislative Counsel will continue to follow the progress of this bill and provide updates as they become available.
Prior House Committee Changes:
Late last year, the Senate unanimously passed its version of Senate Bill 229 with two goals in mind: (1) increasing board flexibility with regard to teacher evaluations and (2) enabling boards to decrease the weight of value-added funding to 35% at their discretion. A broad group of education-related entities - including OEA, OFT, OSBA, OASBO, BASA, Ohio ACTE, and OACTS - supported the bill’s limited approach to amending aspects of the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES). The Senate passed this version of the bill within one month of its introduction.
The House Committee introduced a substitute bill that makes significant changes to the Senate’s version. Specifically, the Committee’s bill alters each of the Senate’s changes to the evaluation system while adding many new provisions.
With regard to the Senate’s proposed changes to the evaluation system, the substitute bill:
- Removes the reduced 35% value-added weighting option from the Senate’s bill. Instead, the bill creates an alternative framework that includes student surveys that would allow student growth to account for 40% of the total evaluation score. In short, the new framework will be comprised of 40% student growth, 40% teacher performance, and 20% student surveys.
- Delays the use of student surveys as a separate evaluation component until 2015, and requires Department of Education approval for all student surveys.
- Removes the Senate’s language permitting a district to evaluate an “accomplished” teacher once every three years (rather than once every two years), and instead creates a new condition that the teacher’s academic growth measure must exceed “average” in order for a district to bypass its annual evaluation requirements. (Note: This language is technically not necessary, as the bill’s new evaluation rating chart already establishes that an accomplished teacher cannot attain such a score without an average score on student growth.) This same condition applies to districts that elect to exempt “skilled” teachers from a formal evaluation.
- Requires boards to provide an observation and conference to “accomplished” or “skilled” teachers if they opt not to evaluate them during a school year, but removes the Senate’s language permitting student surveys or self-evaluation tools in addition to the observation and conference.
- Creates five ranges of scores for student academic growth (formerly 3).
- Creates the new evaluation rating of “effective” (i.e., between “skilled” and “developing”).
- Requires at least one formal observation of a teacher to be unannounced. (Note: Accomplished and Skilled teachers who are exempt from formal evaluation would likely only have one unannounced observation during the year.)
- Prohibits districts from assigning students to teachers who have been rated ineffective for two consecutive years.
- Prohibits districts from assigning students to student teachers who have been rated as developing or ineffective for the prior school year.
- Establishes that teachers with ten or more years of experience may only be rated developing once if they are designated as having least effective or below average growth. After receiving a developing rating, the district must rate teachers as ineffective if they attain these designated scores on the evaluation components. Teacher transfers between districts will not impact this requirement.
- Requires K–12 assessments to determine student growth in English, math, social studies, and science. Such assessments will be used for the student growth portion of a teacher evaluation.
- Expands evaluator credential training requirements and requires all individuals seeking licensure as superintendents, assistant superintendents, principals, vocational directors, administrative specialists, or supervisors in specified areas receive training on teacher evaluations.
- Requires the State Board to develop a comparable framework for principal evaluations that must be incorporated into district principal and assistant principal evaluation policies.
- Exempts new bill provisions from terms of collective bargaining agreements as of the bill’s effective date.