Kentucky Board of Education considers standardizing evaluation of teachers and principals

vhoneycutt@herald-leader.comFebruary 5, 2014 

FRANKFORT — Kentucky has as many teacher and principal evaluation systems as there are school districts, state education officials said Wednesday.

That would change under a proposed regulation, under development for four years, that would hold educators accountable in new and consistent ways statewide. The Kentucky Board of Education discussed the regulation at a meeting in Frankfort. The board will hold a work session in April before voting on the regulation.

"Every parent wants their child to be with a highly effective teacher or one that would be considered accomplished," Associate Kentucky Education Commissioner Felicia Smith said. She said the new model would provide evidence that each educator is helping students make progress.

The vision for the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System calls for evaluation through observation by peers and supervisors, students' performance, and evaluations by students themselves.

Under the regulation, teachers and principals would, in part, be evaluated on state standardized tests and measures that are comparable across schools in a local district. Several personnel actions could result from the evaluations, including corrective action plans, Smith said.

Teachers would be evaluated with designations of "exemplary," "accomplished," "developing" or "ineffective," according to the regulation.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday has described the system as providing educators meaningful feedback and tools to improve their teaching techniques.

Partnerships with several statewide education groups, colleges and universities were used to form a Teacher Effectiveness Steering Committee to provide guidance for the regulation.

During the 2012-13 school year, more than 50 school districts in Kentucky participated in a field test of the new system, according to the state education department website.

Fayette County has "always had a very solid evaluation system in place," Smith said. "This new system will allow them to include additional measures for determining effectiveness and also assisting principals in providing adequate supports for teacher growth."

Districts could ask for waivers that would allow them more flexibility in their evaluation systems.

There is currently a statewide pilot program of the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System, and the system is set to be implemented in 2014-2015.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409. Twitter:@vhspears

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