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Teacher Evaluation System Changing in Missouri

Art Credit: 123rf stock image

The way the state of Missouri evaluates teacher effectiveness is changing, and members of the State Board of Education may approve the new evaluation system during their June meeting.

Board members heard an update on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s development of the new system during their April board meeting. The system is based on already-existing standards for teacher performance. What is new is the use of rubrics to grade teachers on a scale of 0-7 for each standards-based performance requirement. Teachers often use rubrics when evaluating student work in the classroom.

One page of Missouri's new teacher evaluation system, currently under development by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education | Image Credit: Missouri State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

However, rubrics will not be the only tool administrators will use to evaluate teachers’ on-the-job performance. Administrators will take into consideration other factors such as how well each teacher’s students perform on state standardized tests scores. They also will consider the quality of teachers’ lesson and self-improvement plans.

Pilot programs are currently underway to test the new evaluation system at 174 locations across the state. Officials from Missouri’s education department plan to take feedback from pilot participants into account in revising their plan. And it is this revised plan the state board will consider approving two months from now.

Missouri promised to revise the way it evaluates teacher effectiveness as part of its request for a waiver of requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The intent of the Act is to narrow achievement gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged public school students. However, the goal of 100 percent proficiency on state standardized tests by 2014 appeared to be unrealistic, and the U.S. Congress was overdue on reauthorizing NCLB. Therefore, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan has invited states to apply for waivers, and Missouri submitted its waiver request in February among the second round of applicants.

The federal government has already granted waiver requests to all ten of the first round of applicants and plans to respond to the second round of requests sometime in the next few weeks. As part of the waiver requests, the U.S. Department of Education directed states to choose one of two teacher evaluation options. Missouri chose Option A, which requires that teachers and principals be involved in developing the new evaluation system. Option A also requires adoption of new evaluation guidelines by the end of this school year.

Missouri’s State Board of Education heard an update on development of the new teacher evaluation system during their monthly meeting earlier this week. Board members met Monday and Tuesday, April 16-17, in Jefferson City.

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About jwmartinez

JoLynne is a journalist and educator. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Park University and is certified to teach high school journalism and English. Former employment includes work for Cable News Network and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in addition to freelancing for clients such as the Kansas City Star and The Pitch.

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