Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Getting a Jumpstart on Local School District Implementation of Educator Effectiveness Legislation

As is well known, there is a steadily growing effort across many states to develop legislation and task force guidance to help facilitate the design and implementation of local school district educator effectiveness initiatives. Illustrative examples of these efforts can be gleaned from Arizona Senate Bill 1040 and the Arizona Framework for Measuring Educator Effectiveness, Colorado Senate Bill 10-191 and the State Council for Educator Effectiveness, The Massachusetts Task Force on the Evaluation of Teachers and Administrators, and California Assembly Bill 5, to name a few.

The common themes undergirding these initiatives are ensuring that: 1) all students have effective teachers in the classroom and effective leaders in their schools; 2) all teachers and school leaders have access to high-quality professional development, best practices, and standards-based, data-driven systems to promote effective, systemic decision-making leading to increased student mastery of standards; and 3) local effectiveness initiatives have clear expectations and are supported by multiple, fair, transparent, timely, rigorous, reliable, and valid methods of assessing student, teacher, and principal performance.

Over the past year, a number of school districts and charter schools across several states have asked Assessment Technology Incorporated (ATI) to explore ways in which ATI can support local implementation of educator effectiveness initiatives through the implementation of the Comprehensive Assessment System approach inherent in the Galileo K-12 Online Instructional Improvement System. More specifically, the request has been to explore ways in which Galileo can be utilized to: 1) provide reliable and valid quantitative data on student academic progress which can be used to facilitate instructional effectiveness initiatives aimed at supporting professional development and best practices that enhance student learning; 2) provide an integrated mechanism for evaluating instructional effectiveness and expectations of student learning and growth in the context of diverse factors such as student mobility, attendance, and high-risk student populations; 3) provide a means to gather, analyze, and report information on student learning through Galileo pre and posttest designs in state-tested subjects (e.g., mathematics, English language arts, and science), as well as for non-tested subjects (e.g., history, arts, physical education); and 4) partner with districts in ways that make it possible to use Galileo technology to gather, analyze, and report classroom and school observational walkthroughs, interview and survey data of interest to local school district stakeholders.

ATI has designed a set of assessment, reporting, and instructional tools within Galileo K-12 Online that can be used to help facilitate locally designed instructional effectiveness initiatives. Our plan is to work in collaboration with districts and charter schools to implement a pilot of these tools during the 2011-2012 school year as part of the Galileo Implementation Plan, with the goal of achieving full implementation beginning in the 2012-2013 school year. School districts and charter schools not currently implementing Galileo and with an interest in learning more about this pilot are encouraged to contact us to obtain more information regarding pilot implementation.

Typical questions that we have received from the field and for which we can provide detailed information include:
• What grade levels and content areas will be covered by ATI student assessments?
• What will the assessments look like?
• When should we plan on administering the assessments?
• When can we expect delivery of the assessments for use in the pilot year (fall, 2011)?
• What kind of analyses will be applied to the student scores?
• What kind of reports can we expect?

We welcome the opportunity to hear from you and to discuss in more detail the benefits of the ATI “instructional effectiveness assessment approach” in supporting local implementation of educator effectiveness initiatives. Our Field Services and Research teams are also available to provide guidance and information about the critical issues to be considered in measuring instructional effectiveness and student progress, the importance of reliability and validity in measurement, and an overview of the hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) and categorical data analysis (CDA) procedures we plan to implement to help guide local decision-making in support of best practices and student learning.

Jason K. Feld, Ph.D.
Vice President, Corporate Projects.

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