The State Board of Education wants to get rid of Standard VI, a piece of teacher evaluations some say is too punitive.
Standard VI requires teachers to meet expected student growth on state standardized tests. If they don’t, principals have to take action against them. That action can range from placement on an improvement plan to dismissal.
Most teachers dread this part of the evaluation.
“Standard VI has always been a punitive measure,” said the board’s teacher advisor Keana Triplett. “It has been the thing that when the principal comes in and he hands me my scores, my stomach drops.”
The board added Standard VI to annual teacher evaluations in 2011 in order to qualify for federal Race to the Top funding. But Tom Tomberlin says the standard isn't working the way it was intended.
"When you introduce some kind of evaluation standard, your goal is to motivate performance and continuous improvement," he said. But Tomberlin says teacher feedback reveals Standard VI is creating too much anxiety.
"Our goal here is to relieve some of the pressure, and allow us to achieve that spot where teachers are motivated sufficiently but not overwhelmed by the information and the anxiety," he said.
Board members agreed the standard creates too much stress, but noted that if Standard VI is dropped, principals should continue to consider student growth data to inform their annual evaluations. DPI officials say they're looking into ways to incorporate student growth data into the remaining five standards.
"As an engineer I understand that you can't improve what you can't measure. And if you don't use your measures, you're not going to improve," said board member Eric Davis. "I hope that we'll find a better way to nuance this so that it becomes a more effective tool for our teachers to improve, not to be judged."
Board members vote on a proposal to drop the standard next month.