• Educator Effectiveness Update
  • September 11, 2012
  • Law Firm: Boardman Clark LLP - Madison Office
  • 2011 Wisconsin Act 166 was published in April 2012.  This Act requires the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to develop an educator effectiveness evaluation system and an equivalency process aligned with this system for the evaluation of teachers and principals of public schools, including teachers and principals of independent charter schools.  While school districts are not required to take any immediate action in response to the Act, it is important to be aware of the timelines and the requirements for the new educator effectiveness system.  This FYI will briefly discuss the elements of the Act and then comment on recent developments by DPI in implementing the Act.

    Overview of Act 166.  The primary purpose of the educator effectiveness system is to support a system of continuous improvement of educator practice, from pre-service through inservice, which leads to improved student learning.  This system aims to evaluate teachers and principals through a fair, valid and reliable process using multiple measures across two main areas:  student outcomes and educator practice.

    DPI is required to develop an educator effectiveness evaluation system wherein fifty percent of the total evaluation score assigned to a teacher or principal will be based on measures of student performance.  These measures include performance on state assessments, district-wide assessments, student learning objectives, school-wide reading at the elementary and middle school levels, and graduation rates at the high school level.  For a teacher, the remaining fifty percent of the total evaluation score will be based on the extent to which the teacher’s practice meets the core teaching standards adopted by the 2011 Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium.  For a principal, the remaining fifty percent of the total evaluation score will be based on the extent to which the principal’s practice meets the 2008 Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium Educational Leadership Policy Standards.  DPI is also required to promulgate (by administrative rule) an equivalency process for a school district or an independent charter school seeking to utilize an alternative process for the evaluation of teacher and principal practice.  DPI has not promulgated an equivalency process at this time.

    In addition, the Act provides that a teacher or principal evaluated under the educator effectiveness evaluation system or the equivalency process must be placed in one of three performance categories.  These performance categories are: developing, effective, and exemplary.  The developing rating describes professional practice and impact on student achievement that does not meet expectations and requires additional support and directed action.  The effective rating describes solid, expected professional practice and impact on student achievement.  Educators rated as effective will have areas of strength as well as areas for improvement that will be addressed through professional development.  The exemplary rating describes outstanding professional practice and impact on student achievement.  Educators rated as exemplary will continue to expand their expertise through professional development opportunities.

    Five-Phase System.  DPI established a five-phase system development process to satisfy its obligations under the Act.  The first phase, Phase One, occurred from December 2010 through December 2011.  During this phase, the Educator Effectiveness Design team provided recommendations for the framework of the system.  Phase Two, which occurred from December 2011 through June 2012, focused on creating and developing the evaluation systems.  Further, a data systems and management team identified technical requirements for supporting the needs of the system, developed capacity and resources, and provided systems view of resources and information.

    Currently, DPI is in Phase Three for the development and implementation of the educator effectiveness system.  Phase Three will occur from June 2012 until June 2013.  During this time, DPI will be conducting a developmental pilot with school districts of varying sizes, regions, and communities throughout the state.  Additionally, during this phase, feedback will be collected from the developmental pilot districts, and the system will be refined.

    Phase Four of the process will take place from July 2013 until June 2014.  During this phase, the educator effectiveness system will be implemented in an expanded pilot statewide, utilizing revisions of the system made as the result of the data and feedback from the developmental pilot.  The final phase, Phase Five, will be statewide implementation July 2014 through June 2015.  The value-added student outcome data will also be available at this time to allow for full implementation.

    Items to Consider Now.  At this time, districts should keep in mind that, prior to the 2014-2015 school year, they will be required to decide whether to adopt the educator effectiveness system developed by DPI or an equivalency process.  However, the criteria and specifics regarding the equivalency process will be determined during the 2012-2013 school year.  Districts that choose to develop their own rubrics for teacher and/or principal practice evaluations must apply to the state superintendent through an equivalency review process.  Timelines and specifics regarding this equivalency review process are forthcoming.  Districts will also want to keep in mind that administrators and teachers will need to be trained in the new evaluation system prior to the 2014-2015 school year at which time the evaluation system must be implemented.  This training may require extra inservice days and, as a result, additional costs.