New SED Data Shows State Test was the Most Reliable Measure of Teacher Performance in 2012-2013

StudentsFirstNY // August 28, 2014

Today, the New York State Education Department made available a detailed data file for the 2012-2013 teacher and principal evaluation results for all districts except New York City (which did not begin its teacher evaluation program until the 2013-14 school year). Preliminary data released in October 2013 showed that the vast majority of teachers and principals (94% and 92%, respectively) were deemed "Effective" or "Highly Effective" despite student proficiency rates around 30% in math and ELA.

What's New in Today's Release

The data file allows for more detailed analyses. Some conclusions we're able to draw:

  • Zero percent of teachers in New York State are rated Ineffective based on measures other than student growth.

  • On the State-provided growth measures (using state test results) 8% are rated Ineffective (compared to 1% overall) and 13% are rated Developing (compared to 5% overall)

  • Roughly 94% of all districts have zero Ineffective teacher ratings according to available data.

  • Approximately 84% of districts have no teachers in the Ineffective or Developing categories according to available data.

  • Due to tremendous variation in locally-bargained measures, the only reliable way to compare districts is to look at the state test result measures.

  • State test results show 13% of New York teachers are ineffective or in need of immediate extra help, confirming what educators estimated of themselves in last week's EducationNext poll. There, educators surveyed said that 13% of teachers deserved a "D" or "F" for their job performance (See report: http://bit.ly/VTpwbP).

"Any part of the teacher evaluation system that finds zero percent of teachers to be ineffective, when less than a third of students are on grade level, raises serious questions. New York is to be congratulated for being a national leader on teacher evaluations, and we should use the first year of results to strengthen the evaluation system so that it serves its purpose to differentiate between the great teachers who deserve recognition and those who need more targeted support," said Jenny Sedlis, Executive Director of StudentsFirstNY.

Other Background

Under the new evaluation system, every educator receives a performance review based on:

  • Student growth on state assessments (20%)

  • Student growth on locally negotiated assessments (20%)

  • Other local measures which are primarily qualitative, such as principal observations (60%)

While state growth measures showed some differentiation and allows the identification of higher and lower performers across districts, local and more qualitative measures do not (see table).