As it stands, the Student Learning Objectives (SLO) component of teacher evaluations is unproven, inappropriate for judging teacher effectiveness and not yet ready for such high stakes. We need to focus on fair, reliable evaluations that will provide teachers with the meaningful feedback they need. Our administrators, teachers, and students deserve better.
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There has been insufficient training for teachers and administrators to date, and there is a lack of clarity regarding the process. Student Learning Objectives have potential as a means of measuring student progress, but should not be used with consequences for teachers or students until the methodology is proven to be appropriate, fair and reliable. Including this element in the teacher evaluation system before it is ready promotes failure versus success and threatens the teacher evaluation system as a whole.
Before any teacher evaluation system is implemented, we should:
•Conduct an independent analysis and re-examination of RIDE's Student Learning Formula, specifically SLOs;
•Halt the use of Student Learning Objectives in determining teacher effectiveness until such time as the formula is determined to be fair, valid and reliable;
•Determine teacher effectiveness solely on the basis of Professional Practice ratings and collect Student Learning Objective attainment data for research purposes only;
•Agree that, when applied to the determination of teacher effectiveness, Student Learning will not be weighted more heavily than any other component of the evaluation system.
Teacher evaluations can and will work if they are implemented properly and the affected parties fully understand the system. As it stands, RIDE’s SLO component is unproven and inappropriate for judging teacher effectiveness.
I strongly urge you to slow this process down. Our administrators, teachers, and students deserve better.