By Ashleigh Costello
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Many Tennessee school districts are noticing a higher quality of instruction in their schools following the implementation of a new teacher evaluation system, according to a story published by TnReports.com.
Tennessee first adopted the evaluation process in 2010 as part of the state’s federal Race to the Top grant application. Tennessee was one of the first two states selected for the grants.
Last month, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan released a statement complimenting Tennessee on its continued progress on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP.
“Through Race to the Top, Tennessee took on extraordinarily difficult work in a relatively short period of time,” said Duncan. “Early signs of widespread academic progress are not only encouraging but inspiring, and will help lay the ground work for further success as Tennessee continues its commitment to leading the nation in education reform.”
Under the new system, half of teacher evaluations are based on student test scores. The latter 50 percent is based on classroom observations.
The evaluations are used to determine whether or not to grant teachers tenure. Consecutive poor evaluations can lead to dismissal.
Larry Foster, director of Anderson County Schools, was originally cautious of the evaluation system, but concedes it has led to better results.
“I believe it made improvements in the instruction in Anderson County,” Foster told the Knoxville News. “Our test scores are ranking in the 4s and 5s and that’s good for Anderson County.”
State Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman agrees.
“We are encouraged by the results we’ve seen so far, and the (state education) department will continue to use feedback from stakeholders and measurable outcomes in classrooms to improve evaluations year after year,” Huffman said.