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Chancellor Henderson Announces Updates to Teacher Evaluation System

Friday, August 3, 2012

Chancellor Henderson Announces Updates to Teacher Evaluation System

Changes go into effect at the start of the 2012-2013 school year

DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Kaya Henderson today announced a number of updates to the school system’s teacher evaluation system, known as IMPACT.  The changes, which will go into effect at the start of the 2012-2013 school year, reflect extensive input from employees and other stakeholders gathered over the past year. The revised system raises expectations, broadens the measurement of student achievement, and increases support and flexibility.

“Teachers are the key to our success. Along with our principals and other building staff, they are the ones who will lead us on the path to realizing the bold, five-year goals we set in A Capital Commitment,” said Henderson. “But in order to get there, we need to redouble our efforts. We have to raise our expectations of what good teaching looks like in the District and we have to keep that bar high.”

“Our teachers make the difference every day for our students across the District. They deserve our support and they deserve to be treated like the professionals they are,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “The updates to IMPACT will strengthen our teacher workforce and get us closer to our goal of an outstanding teacher and world-class education for every child in this city.”

Raising Expectations
Beginning this year, the minimum score required for an “Effective” rating has been raised from 250 to 300 on the 100-400 IMPACT scale. Today’s changes also include a new fifth rating, “Developing,” for teachers who earn final scores between 250 and 299. Teachers who earn Developing ratings will have three years to take advantage of the district’s professional development, including system wide school-based coaching, videos of exemplary practice, and a new program of content-specific support that will be provided to teachers in the system’s 40 lowest performing schools. Teachers who are still not meeting expectations after three years will be subject to separation from the system.  

“We weighed this decision carefully and only settled on it after critically analyzing three years of performance data and talking with an extensive group of stakeholders. Ultimately, this change is about providing our students with the outstanding teachers that they deserve,” said Jason Kamras, Chief of the Office of Human Capital. “This shift undoubtedly increases accountability, but it also helps us target our support.”

Broadening Measurement of Student Achievement
IMPACT will continue to weight student achievement at 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation, but it will now include multiple measures of student learning. As in previous years, IMPACT will continue to use a value-added measure based on the District of Columbia state test, but it will now include measures of learning tied to other assessments. This change will ensure that teachers receive credit for all of their instruction, not just the elements assessed on the state test.

Value-added, which is designed to isolate the impact that a teacher has on her or his students' learning, as distinct from other external factors like socioeconomic status, will be weighted at 35 percent. The new measure of student learning, which will require each teacher to work with her or his principal to set rigorous achievement goals on an approved assessment other than the state test, will be weighted at 15 percent.

“Student performance will continue to be the largest piece of the pie because we believe strongly that student learning is the best measure of a teacher’s success,” said Henderson. “Today, we are evolving that approach to now include multiple measures.”

Increasing Support and Flexibility
Another key change announced today is a new, more supportive and more flexible approach to the classroom observation portion of IMPACT. Most importantly, all teachers will now receive one informal observation that will not count towards their final IMPACT rating. This observation will only serve to provide teachers with suggestions for improvement. In addition, teachers who have consistently earned scores of 300 and above (Effective or Highly Effective) will be eligible for reduced observations. Finally, if an observation score is well below the others earned by a teacher in a particular year–a true outlier–it will be dropped. These changes were implemented to help diminish the anxiety some of the system's strongest teachers feel, and to free up more time for principals to support their struggling educators.

Today’s announcement is the first in a series of improvements DCPS will make to help better support teachers and stay on track to meet the goals of A Capital Commitment.

Read more details here about the changes to IMPACT.

Contact: Melissa Salmanowitz | 202-535-1096