The Indiana Department of Education released its 2012-2013 teacher evaluation results Monday, which found about 88% of teachers and administrators in the state are effective or highly effective, only 2% need improvement, and less than half a percent are ineffective.
The glowing results have been called “unrealistic,” by some experts who are wary of the high saturation of positive scores.
- In 2011, legislation was passed in the state mandating all districts conduct yearly reviews of their teachers and administrators. Districts can decide how to conduct their evaluations as long as a “significant” percentage is based on standardized tests, to decrease any biases.
What really surprised people about the state's evaluation results was that schools with D and F ratings had no teachers ranked below effective. This disconnect between school performance and teacher effectiveness puzzles many.
"We didn't think it was possible for a D or F school to say all teachers are effective or highly effective," State House Education Committee Chairman Bob Behning said. "We thought [the school ratings] would keep schools somewhat a little more honest."
The results really raise questions about the best way to evaluate teachers and how to avoid bias while still getting the full picture. If school funding and rankings are based on teacher evaluations, and teachers are evaluated by their districts, there is likely to be some sort of bias. However, if teachers are evaluated by outsiders, who are setting foot in their classroom for the first time that day, there is also likely a lack of context. Finding a balance that adequately measures teacher performance is clearly difficult.