In 2010, Team Pennsylvania joined forces with PDE in order to develop a teacher effectiveness model that would reform the way teachers were evaluated as well as identify critical components of teacher training and teacher professional growth. Under the new system, Pennsylvania has begun to base annual evaluations on several measures, including supervisor observations based on the Framework for Teaching (FFT) and teachers’ contributions to student achievement growth from a value-added model (VAM).
Phase One: Pennsylvania’s teacher evaluation system in 2010 was inadequate and did not provide the critical information to support, recognize, or manage instructional effectiveness in schools. A committee was formed to develop observation-based rubrics that were piloted in the four school systems of Allentown, Cornell and Mohawk school districts as well as Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit 5.
Phase Two: The committee used the findings from Phase I to inform the second phase, which involved more than 5,000 teachers from 100 districts. During Phase Two, PDE sought to identify multiple measures of student achievement, create an infrastructure to gather and report on the student achievement measures, and coordinate professional development. Phase Two offered educators the resources they would need to succeed in these evaluations and created standards for reviewers to ensure consistency in observations.
Phase Three: Phase Three was 2.5 times larger than Phase Two, in respect to the number of teachers, schools and districts that participated. It included a greater emphasis on principal training as well. The criteria teachers were evaluated on included observable characteristics that were reflective of teachers statewide.
The new evaluation system offers teachers meaningful feedback they can use to improve in the classroom. The system has local flexibility, allowing school districts to incorporate some of their own measures of student achievement to gauge teacher effectiveness. Online professional development courses targeted at specific areas for teacher improvement are now available online.