A comparative analysis of teacher evaluation policy
Educational accountability has moved to the forefront of the educational reform movement. There is a call to have every student taught by a highly effective teacher at a highly effective school. How do we get there? As states compete for funding under the Race to the Top initiative (RTTT), new teacher evaluation policies have become one of the leading tools to assess teacher effectiveness. The purpose of this study is to examine select state teacher evaluation policies and the literature on teacher evaluation for the larger purpose of informing teacher evaluation policies and practices in Alabama. The goal is to make Alabama education policymakers and leaders aware of the current trends in teacher evaluation and an analysis of their successes and failures. The study begins with educational accountability in the United States, starting with the signing of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and follows the different acts, policies, initiatives, and competitions ending with RTTT. The second stage looks at the literature on educational reforms and the causal assumptions behind these reforms. The research was based on a comparative policy analysis using qualitative methods. The study includes a comparative data matrix, which includes anchors and subanchors from five states: Georgia, Tennessee, New York, Illinois, and Alabama. The move toward new teacher evaluation policies and models has been eminently contested and debated by all stakeholders. Several implications for states and teachers emerged from this study, including the following: (a) creating new teacher evaluation policies using multiple measures, (b) using student data as a percentage of a teacher's final evaluation rating, and (c) the need for teachers to have a voice in the development of the new teacher evaluation policies.