In Michigan, 98 percent of teachers were rated effective or better under new teacher-evaluation systems recently put in place. In Florida, 97 percent of teachers were deemed effective or better .
Principals in Tennessee judged 98 percent of teachers to be "at expectations" or better last school year, while evaluators in Georgia gave good reviews to 94 percent of teachers taking part in a pilot evaluation program.
Those results, among the first trickling out from states' newly revamped yardsticks, paint a picture of a K-12 system that remains hesitant to differentiate between the best and the weakest performers--as well as among all those in the middle doing a solid job who still have room to improve.
The data are also raising new questions about the observation components of the systems, which tended to produce the highest scores.
"Most of these districts are trying really hard to think about teacher evaluation in a good way and to use it developmentally, but there's still some cultural challenges," Sarah W. Lenhoff, the assistant director of policy and research at the Education Trust-Midwest, said about the Michigan results. The Royal Oak, Mich.-based advocacy group has issued several reports on the overhaul of evaluation in that state.
"Although teachers may be getting more feedback and talking about their practice more, it hasn't trickled down to variations in rating," Ms. Lenhoff continued. "And that's going to take time."
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SOURCE: Education Week