In July of 2015 the Idaho State Department of Education (SDE) assembled a team to create guidelines for auditing school district teacher evaluations as an annual check that administrators would be conducting such evaluations with fidelity using the recently state-adopted Charlotte Danielson Framework.
In July of this year as contracted with the SDE, McREL International published their seven-member review using the same criteria only to reveal that 99 percent of the randomly selected 53 school district teacher evaluations were completed incorrectly or illegally. Such evaluation review items included an Individual Professional Learning Plan, a professional practice portion including all Danielson 22 components, levels of performance, dates of two documented observations, measures of student achievement, a summative rating of 67 percent professional practice and 33 percent student achievement, and a completion deadline of May 1st. School administrators/evaluators fell short on a variety of these items.
From July until this week when an Idaho Education News reporter obtained a copy through the SDE’s public records request site, State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra never divulged the results to legislators or members of the Idaho State Board of Education (ISBA). Yesterday, however, she sent an official memo of “Findings Response to the McREL Report,” stating the audit was never meant to be an “‘I gotcha’ of Idaho educators,” and that obtaining said report was “completely, and solely political.” Ybarra cautioned her readers that the information in the report was from the 2014-2015 school year, preceding Idaho’s application of requirements to its teacher career ladder. As the Superintendent explains, there are conclusions of evidence from the report that inconsistently apply to current laws and rules which outline new requirements such as the number of observations or individual professional learning plans. If anything, the results of the audit expose the need for districts to be better trained in evaluation protocol.
At this date not only is the ISBA planning to audit the current 2015-2016 evaluations so they can report those to the 2017 legislature, but also the president of the ISBA, Emma Atchley, has personally pledged to take corrective action immediately at their December 15 meeting. That meeting’s focus will cover issues in the audit as well as whether or not district administrators have adequate training in conducting evaluations as well as reporting their findings to the state.
Corbin, Clark. “Idaho Educators Developed the Standards Used to Audit Teacher Evaluations.” Idaho Education News. 06 Dec. 2016. www.idahoednews.org.
“ “ . “Ybarra Calls for Schools to Stand Tall in Wake of Teacher Evaluations Audit.” Idaho Education News. 08 Dec. 2016. www.idahoednew.org.
“Findings Response to the McREL Report.” Idaho State Department of Education. www.sde.idaho.gov/superintendent/files/12-08-2016-Response-to-the-McREL-Report.pdf.
McREL International. “State of Idaho Department of Education: Teacher Evaluation Desk Review Report.” 11 July 2016. www.mcrel.org.
“State Board of Education to Review Teacher Evaluation Process.” www.localnews8.com.