Several years ago, a group at Virginia Tech decided to research the implementation of Virginia’s new teacher evaluation system after the state of Virginia issued new guidelines for teacher performance standards and evaluation criteria in 2012.  The study looked at ways to support the successful implementation of the new teacher performance evaluation in Virginia aiming to improve teacher instructional practices and their students’ learning outcomes.  Salem City Schools participated in the research with teachers and administrators participating in surveys and focus groups.

In Fall of 2015, the research group presented its findings from year 2 of the study to administration.  The year 2 study focused on a comparison to year 1 results, teacher perceptions on supports, teachers’ use of information to inform instruction and teacher buy-in of evaluation policy.

Findings from Year 2:

  • Teacher evaluation ratings have a significant and positive correlation with teacher value-added measures.  i.e. the better the teacher was rated, the better the test scores with categories such as instructional planning, AFL, and Student Academic Progress (using outcome data) having the most impact on student scores.
  • Principals are doing a good job of evaluating teachers.
  • Teachers used evaluation for performance improvement.  The programs were more informative and the information collected led to better conversations with supervisors.
  • Professional Development had a stronger effect on teachers at the upper-middle range than on top-performing teacher.
    • The average of the total hours of professional development increased in using data from year 1 to year 2.
    • The rating of the usefulness of the professional development increased from year 1, specifically in the areas of using data and targeting specific content areas.
  • Principal feedback on early-career teachers is important for professional development.
  • Evaluation instruments that were used are perceived as fair and worth the teacher’s effort.
  • The average teacher performance improved in each of the seven categories from Year 1 results, however the most gains were in category 7: Student Academic Progress.

Research Next Steps:

o   The research group will provide Salem City Schools with the Qualitative analysis that was collected through the focus groups.

o  The research group will start it’s analysis of 2014-2015 school year data for their Year 3 Study.