New Data Show Teacher Evaluations Need Cuomo Fixes

Current Evals Bear Zero Resemblance to Student Learning    

"It's clear that special interests are hell bent on making sure parents and teachers don't have accurate information on teacher effectiveness. When teacher evaluations bear zero resemblance to student learning, which is the case in 4 out of the 5 big school districts, it makes a strong case for Governor Cuomo's improvements to the system. It is shocking that you can have a district like Syracuse with 97% of teachers rated effective or above when student proficiency is in the single digits. It's also shocking to see districts like Beacon, that gamed the evaluations so there's a swing from 24% of teachers effective to 100%. Governor Cuomo is right to design a statewide system that parents and educators can count on as fair and reliable."

-- Jenny Sedlis, Executive Director, StudentsFirstNY


  • 95% of teachers statewide are rated effective or highly effective despite student proficiency rates of 31% in ELA and 36% in math.
  • The Big 4 School Districts had particularly large gaps between teacher evaluation ratings and student achievement:
    • Buffalo: 93% of teachers effective or highly effective despite 12% student proficiency in ELA and 13% in math.
    • Syracuse: 97% of teachers effective or highly effective despite 8% student proficiency in ELA and 8% in math.
    • Rochester: 89% of teachers effective or highly effective despite 5% student proficiency in ELA and 7% in math.
    • Yonkers: 99% of teachers effective or highly effective despite 19% student proficiency in ELA and 22% in math.
  • Syracuse, Rochester, and Yonkers changed their APPR plans since 2013, resulting in much bigger disparities between teacher ratings and student outcomes. The percentage of effective and highly effective teachers increased dramatically in just one year:
    • Syracuse increased from 60% to 97% effective or highly effective
    • Rochester increased from 60% to 89% effective or highly effective
    • Yonkers increased from 84% to 99% effective or highly effective
  • Other districts similarly undermined their evaluation systems. For example, Beacon City School District's APPR changes resulted in the percentage of effective or highly effective teachers increasing from 24% to 100%.
  • There continues to be districts where 0% of teachers were rated developing or ineffective.
With these troubling results in mind, Governor Cuomo has proposed the following changes to ensure the system works fairly for students and teachers:
  • Eliminate the local measure of student growth, which has been notoriously inconsistent and unreliable. Instead, 50% of the score will be based on student growth on state tests, or a student growth measure that measures one year of academic growth.
  • Set the scoring bands at the state level for both the student growth measure and the observation portion of the score. This would help prevent districts from undermining the integrity of the teacher evaluation process by watering down standards.
  • Require that if a teacher is rated Ineffective in either portion of the score, he or she cannot receive a rating of Effective or Highly Effective.
  • Award tenure only when a teacher achieves five consecutive years of effective ratings, because research shows that five years of performance represent a close reflection of teachers’ long-term performance.

Join StudentsFirstNY

Connect With Us

New Report