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DCPS Announces Initial Findings from First Phase of IMPACT Review

Friday, August 13, 2021

(WASHINGTON, DC) – DC Public Schools announced today additional supports for teachers and evaluators based on the findings of the first phase of a comprehensive, multi-year review of the IMPACT evaluation and feedback system. The latest evolutions to IMPACT include adding anti-bias training for evaluators, additional resources and supports for teacher growth, and changes to how IMPACT interacts with annual salary raises.

“IMPACT undoubtedly has been a critical component of the progress DCPS has made over the past decade as the fastest improving urban school district, and an important foundation for our vision as a district,” said Chancellor Lewis Ferebee. “The steps we are announcing today are a next step, not our final. I look forward to a continued conversation on how we prioritize the success of our students by ensuring our staff feel celebrated, supported, and valued.”

As part of the Review, DCPS engaged over 3,500 stakeholders; conducted research and analysis of IMPACT data; consulted with multiple internal and external advisory groups, including national experts in education; and partnered with American University’s School of Education to provide an independent perspective through teacher interviews.

Findings from the AU report are available hereDCPS’s own research found wide variation in the perceptions of IMPACT across the DCPS community, from strongly positive to strongly negative. Teacher retention rates improved since the introduction of IMPACT, particularly among teachers rated “Highly Effective” and “Effective.” However, significant numbers of teachers expressed experiencing stress and/or anxiety regarding negative outcomes with respect to IMPACT. There was strong consensus among teachers and school leaders that IMPACT had meaningful areas of improvement to support teacher growth.

DCPS conducted an equity review of IMPACT as part of the comprehensive Review, to honor its commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization that works to eliminate opportunity gaps, interrupt institutional bias, and remove barriers to student success. The equity review identified a considerable gap between the average final IMPACT scores between white teachers and teachers of color, which persisted regardless of the race of the evaluator. Data also suggested that for teachers rated “Effective” and above, Black and Hispanic/Latino teachers are retained at a higher rate than the overall district average or average of white teachers.

“We are not surprised to see racial gaps persist within IMPACT assessments, as we know that systemic racism permeates virtually every institution and system in our society,” said Chancellor Ferebee. “We must be intentional in examining and disrupting the ways that our education system perpetuates systemic racism, and this is an important step in that work.” 

IMPACT was introduced in 2009, and changes and improvements have been made to the system over the last decade. In 2019, Chancellor Ferebee announced the multi-year, comprehensive review, which is ongoing. Today’s announcement marks the first phase of the Review, and DCPS envisions further evolutions based on the current findings and what emerges in the next phases of the Review.   

For additional information, including a library of materials related to the IMPACT Review, and a full list of all planned evolutions to IMPACT, visit https://dcps.dc.gov/page/impact-dcps-evaluation-and-feedback-system-school-based-personnel.