The long-awaited changes to North Dakota’s teacher evaluation programs have arrived
Teacher Evaluation in North Dakota
North Dakota Century Code specifies that every public school district shall conduct an appropriate form and frequency of written teacher evaluations for each public school teacher, based in part on the standing tenure and experience of each teacher.
It has been the historical practice among North Dakota public schools to adopt and administer locally defined teacher performance evaluation efforts. This locally determined practice has produced a wide variety of teacher performance evaluations, which represent various reference standards, recording metrics, and narrative formats. The variety of evaluation models has not allowed for a common means of uniformly recording or compiling teacher evaluation results in terms of common professional standards or teacher evaluation performance levels. This lack of common standards has restricted internal district quality assurance and external compliance monitoring efforts. The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction stepped forward to find a way to improve this situation.
Those efforts led to a new set of guidelines for the adoption and implementation of district-level evaluation systems. These guidelines present overall guidance to local school districts regarding the state’s adoption of a uniform, statewide teacher performance evaluation system. These guidelines include:
- The defining features of a meaningful teacher performance evaluation system;
- The foundational teacher professional standards that provide the core criteria for a teacher performance evaluation system;
- The means of adopting or developing valid local teacher evaluation models that are aligned to the state’s teacher professional standards;
- The differentiated levels that define teacher professional performance;
- Reliable means of recording and compiling differentiated teacher performance;
- General administrative practices to efficiently conduct a district-level evaluation system; and
- Longer-term evaluation and research efforts to measure the performance of a district’s or the state’s evaluation system.
The provisions of the statewide teacher evaluation system have become effective with the 2012-13 school year. From that point, local school districts have begun to plan a series of phased-in development and implementation activities. The expectation is that these guidelines will provide local school districts with sufficient guidance to develop, adopt, and implement teacher evaluation systems that:
- Will be used for continual improvement of instruction;
- Meaningfully differentiate performance using at least four performance levels;
- Use multiple valid measures in determining teacher performance levels, including as a significant factor student growth data for all students. Consideration should be given to tested and non-tested subjects and grades. Additional consideration should be given to measures of professional practice, which may be gathered through multiple formats and sources, such as observations based on rigorous teacher performance standards, teacher portfolios, and student and parent surveys;
- Evaluate teachers on a regular basis, as provided in state law;
- Provide clear, timely, and useful feedback, including feedback that identifies needs and guides professional development; and
- Will be used to inform personnel decisions.
With this new focus, it has become crucial to transform teacher evaluation from an exercise in compliance to an effective engine of growth. The Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model meets or exceeds North Dakota state requirements. The model focuses on teaching strategies identified by research to increase student learning gains. As a result of this granular approach to evaluation, the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model has demonstrated success in observer accuracy and inter-rater reliability. The model also provides effective and specific feedback to teachers, helping to improve their professional practice to directly affect student achievement. These are the reasons hundreds of school districts in all 50 states have implemented the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model and the iObservation technology platform.