Click here to download the Board of Education's Framework for Teaching.
Click here to download CPS's final evaluation proposal.
Click here for a video recording of a lecture by Jesse Rothstein, Associate Professor at the University of California-Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy & Dept. of Economics, on why we should be concerned about “Value-added” Assessment. The actual lecture begins after introductions at 13 minutes, 45 seconds into the recording. Use the "progress bar" along the bottom of the video window to jump to that spot. Questions and answers are included at the end.
- Why is there a new teacher evaluation plan?
- Will my pay be impacted by the new plan?
- What are the names of the new rating categories?
- What else is new in the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA)?
- How many schools will have a new Teacher Evaluation Plan next year?
- What is the philosophy behind the push for teacher evaluation?
- What is the CTU’s general critique of the new teacher evaluation law?
- What factors will comprise my evaluation next year?
- Will principals be evaluated also?
- How will classroom observations be conducted?
- Will unannounced observations be allowed?
- Can we be videotaped?
- How is the new system better than the current system of classroom observations?
- Who can do the observations?
- Will department chairs conduct evaluations?
- What will carry the most weight in my 2012-2013 evaluation score?
- What is student growth?
- What is CTU’s position on the inclusion of student growth?
- How will CPS assess student growth for elementary teachers in 2012-2013?
- Why are teachers who don’t teach reading or ELA responsible for school-wide literacy scores?
- How will CPS assess student growth if I teach art, music, physical education, pre-school, or any other subject typically not tested by the state?
- How can Special Education teachers be evaluated on NWEA assessments when they are not modified to meet the student's IEP?
- How will CPS assess student growth for high school teachers in 2012-2013?
- How will CPS assess student growth for non-classroom teachers such as counselors, school nurses, or social workers in 2012-2013?
- How will observations be scored?
- How will the yearly evaluation score, or summative rating, be determined?
- How will PSRPs be evaluated?
- Will standardized tests other than NWEA be used for teacher evaluation in 2012-2013?
- How will value added be used to determine student growth?
- What does the research say about value added?
- Will students evaluate teachers?
- Will student attendance be taken into consideration?
- What is the role played by “Instructional Effectiveness Specialists”?
- What if a principal is out to get me?
- How were the details of the evaluation plan determined?
- What did CTU accomplish in negotiations?
- What professional development will be associated with the new evaluation plan?
- Shouldn’t CPS be held accountable too?
- What should I do if I want to become more involved in CTU's efforts to monitor or in other ways affect the implementation of the new evaluation system?
Why is there a new teacher evaluation plan?
The Illinois legislature passed the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) in January, 2010, initially, to allow the State to get Race to the Top (RTTT) funds awarded that year. Illinois did not get the RTTT funds that year, but the law stands.
Will my pay be impacted by the new plan?
Because of our strike, your pay will not be impacted during the life of the contract. However, CPS still will try to institute a “merit pay” or “pay for performance” system in the future. If CPS is allowed to use merit pay, your pay would be impacted by your rating, which is why CTU fought so hard against it for this contract.
What are the names of the new rating categories?
There will be four performance ratings: Excellent, Proficient, Developing (called Needs Improvement by the State), and Unsatisfactory. NOTE: These do not correspond directly to the levels of the CPS Framework for Teaching or to current rating categories. For more information about how annual ratings will be calculated, please see this answer.
What else is new in the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA)?
PERA mandates that student growth must be a significant factor in teacher, principal and assistant principal evaluations for all school districts throughout the State. ISBE regulations define “significant” as 25% for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, and 30% after that. Every evaluator must pass both a pre-qualification program and state training approved by ISBE. To see if your evaluator is qualified, go to www.isbe.net and clicking on ESC at the top of the screen. Select “public search” to search by city, district, school, or educator name.
How many schools will have a new Teacher Evaluation Plan next year?
All 585 regular CPS schools (charters are exempted in the law) will implement a new evaluation plan in 2012-2013. However, the evaluation will not count for tenured teachers’ ratings. PATs need an evaluation rating as they move towards tenure, and they will be rated using the new system this school year.
What is the philosophy behind the push for teacher evaluation?
The philosophy of the corporate “reformers” is that education should be run like a business. This includes the institution of practices encouraging competition between schools and among teachers and the corporate push to privatize government functions. Businesses consider unions to be an obstacle to their profit-making and they seek to weaken or eliminate them. Instituting teacher evaluation systems that use student test scores to rank and sort teachers is therefore part of the corporate reform plan.
What is the CTU’s general critique of the new teacher evaluation law?
According to researcher Richard Rothstein, at least 2/3 of differences in achievement can be explained by non-school factors. Five important in-school factors that matter have been identified by the Consortium on Chicago School Research: ambitious instruction, learning climate, professional capacity, family and community ties, and school leadership. School leadership is the in-school factor that most influences the others schoolwide. Instead of working on the factors that account for most of the achievement differences, such as health, poverty, mobility, segregation, and school leadership, legislation is focused narrowly on teacher evaluation. Further, by making student growth a significant factor in teacher evaluation, the corporate reformers are continuing the failed policies of the test-based No Child Left Behind. More emphasis on testing leads to less conceptual understanding, independent thinking, and creativity. The new teacher evaluation policies are bad for students and bad for education. Click here for CTU’s research-based plan to strengthen education in CPS.
What factors will comprise my evaluation?
Your evaluation will be based on teacher practice (classroom observations accompanied by pre- and post-observation conferences) and two kinds of student growth data.
Will principals be evaluated also?
Under PERA, principals and assistant principals must be evaluated beginning in September 2012 and on an annual basis. They will be evaluated by central office or network administrators who have passed the pre-qualification program and training to do evaluations. In addition, they will still be evaluated by their Local School Councils.
How will classroom observations be conducted?
Classroom observations will consist of evidence collected about the teacher’s practice, using the CPS Framework for Teaching, an approved modification of Charlotte Danielson’s Framework. Observers are required to record what they see and hear happening, not pass judgment at the time of the observation. For example, “students appear engaged” is a judgment. “23 of 28 students are writing on the provided worksheet” is a fact recorded during the observation. Every formal observation will include a pre- and post-observation conference. In the post-observation conference, the observer and teacher discuss where on the Framework rubric each piece of observed evidence belongs. Most teachers will eventually have four observations, which will provide increased opportunity to improve their ratings and a more accurate picture of their practice. For the 2012–13 school year, only PATs receive a rating and four observations. Tenured teachers will still receive at least one observation.
Will unannounced observations be allowed?
CPS plans to conduct zero, one, or two unannounced (“informal”) observations a year per teacher for at least 15 minutes each. Teachers will receive electronic feedback on these observations, unless they request a face-to-face feedback session. The CPS Framework for Teaching will guide evidence gathered in an informal observation and the evidence will count as part of a teacher’s overall evaluation.
Can we be videotaped?
Currently, you cannot be videotaped without your permission.
How is the new system better than the current system of classroom observations?
The current checklist system allows principals to give teachers whatever evaluation scores they want—there is nothing that links the checkmarks to particular ratings. The current observation process is subjective and not based on evidence gathering. The checklist does not give teachers information about their pedagogical strengths and weaknesses. Also, principals are currently not required to have substantial pre- and post-observation conferences.
Who can do the observations?
For 2012-2013, only principals, assistant principals, and network or central office administrators who have had the State of Illinois Evaluator Training and passed the test will be allowed to conduct observations for teacher evaluation purposes.
Will department chairs conduct evaluations?
State law allows department chairs to be used as evaluators, but CPS has chosen not to do so under their current plan for 2012-2013. CTU opposes the use of department chairs as evaluators for any year and we will continue to negotiate this issue with CPS.
What will carry the most weight in my evaluation score?
Classroom observations will count for most of your evaluation score. If you are an elementary teacher, observations will count 75% the first two years of the contract and 70% the last year. If you are a high school teacher, they will count 90% the first year, 75% the next year, and 70% the last year. If you are a non-classroom teacher, they will count 100% until CPS figures out an appropriate student growth measure to use. The remaining part of your evaluation score will come from student growth.
What is student growth?
The ISBE regulations define student growth as “a demonstrable change in a student’s or group of students’ knowledge or skills, as evidenced by gain and/or attainment on two or more assessments, between two or more points in time.” In other words, student growth measures the difference between what students know at the beginning and at the end of the school year.
What is CTU’s position on the inclusion of student growth?
Student growth is supposed to be fairer than just comparing where students are at the end of the year without looking at where they started. However, the student growth measure says much more about student factors like health, poverty, and neighborhood than it does about the teacher. Student growth is actually a measure of growth on the tests--leaving out social, emotional, and non-tested academic growth.
How will CPS assess student growth for elementary teachers?
CPS will use the computer adaptive test, NWEA MAP (Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress), for grades 3-8, reading and mathematics. If you do not teach mathematics, reading or English Language Arts (ELA) in 3rd to 8th grade, then 15% of your evaluation will be measured by your performance task and 10% by the school-wide literacy (reading) average. If you teach any math or reading/ELA, then your performance task counts 10% and your students’ NWEA scores count 15%.
Why are teachers who don’t teach reading or ELA responsible for school-wide literacy scores?
CPS claims that by using school-wide scores as part of an individual teacher’s evaluation, all teachers will contribute to students’ literacy. CTU disagrees; we argued strongly against this proposal in negotiations, because it is unfair and cannot accomplish what CPS claims. There are many ways to create a school-wide climate of literacy development, but this is not one of them.
How will CPS assess student growth if I teach art, music, physical education, pre-school, or any other subject typically not tested by the state?
Performance Tasks for every grade and subject (other than a few high school subjects) have been developed by CPS in conjunction with groups of classroom teachers from those grades and subjects. These are not multiple choice tests, but tasks that require students to do something written or hands-on—initially, to show what they can do at the beginning of the school year and later to show what they’ve learned by the end of the school year. The task is not meant to be comprehensive, but to demonstrate something that is of significance to your class.
How can Special Education teachers be evaluated on NWEA assessments when they are not modified to meet the student's IEP?
The position of CPS is that, except for the 1% of students who are eligible to take the Illinois Alternative Assessment (IAA), special education students will be required to take the same tests as other students, just as they are required to take the ISAT. The NWEA test that 3rd-8th graders take is supposed to be able to handle any necessary accommodations listed in the student’s IEP. The CTU negotiating team and individual teachers have repeatedly pointed out that this plan is unworkable, unfair and does not acknowledge the special needs of students with IEPs. Nevertheless, CPS has maintained their position.
How will CPS assess student growth for high school teachers in 2012-2013?
If you are a high school teacher in a subject for which there is a performance task, 10% of your evaluation score will come from your students’ growth on that task. If you are a high school teacher in a subject without a performance task, none of your evaluation score will come from student growth. Student scores on Explore, Plan, and ACT will be measured, but not count as part of your evaluation this year.
How will CPS assess student growth for non-classroom teachers such as counselors, school nurses, or social workers in 2012-2013?
Non-classroom teachers will not be evaluated on student growth in this school year. All of their evaluation will be based on observations or evidence of their work.
How will observations be scored?
- Planning and Preparation (25% of the teacher practice score).
- The Classroom Environment (25% of the teacher practice score).
- Instruction (40% of your teacher practice score).
- Professional Responsibilities (10% of your teacher practice score).
Each Domain has 4-5 components. Domains 2 and 3 are observed during classroom observations, and Domains 1 and 4 are considered “behind-the-scenes” domains that are difficult to observe by only watching a lesson. Every time the principal or assistant principal comes into your classroom to observe you, he/she will gather evidence on Domain 2, The Classroom Environment, and Domain 3, Instruction. Components of Domains 2 & 3 will be scored after each observation, on a scale of 1 – 4, guided by the Framework rubric.
Component scores for Domain 1, Planning and Preparation, will be taken from the pre-observation conference, classroom observation, and post-observation conference after each observation. For Domain 4, Professional Responsibilities, most of the components will be scored from evidence you present or the principal knows about you. The points on each component of Domain 4 will be averaged at the end of the year for a final component score, after using the Domain percentages to weight appropriately. CPS has chosen to use a point system, so after your points are averaged out, they will be entered into the calculation of your evaluation score. Click here for an example of observation scoring.
How will the yearly evaluation score, or summative rating, be determined?
CTU argued for a simplified system for determining the summative rating, but CPS did not agree. They have devised a point system as follows:
Minimum Maximum Unsatisfactory 100 209 Needs Improvement 210 284 Proficient 285 339 Excellent 340 400
For 2012-2013, if you are an elementary teacher, you will get points for teacher practice, value added, and the performance task. If you are a high school teacher, you will get points for teacher practice and the performance task. The chart below shows the minimum and maximum number of points an elementary teacher could get in each category for this school year and the next.
Elementary Minimum Elementary Maximum High School Minimum High School Maximum Teacher Practice 75 300 90 360 Value Added (or Performance Tasks if not tested) 15 60 Performance Task 10 40 10 40
- For Performance Tasks, the percentage of students who grew (starting and ending with the highest possible score counts as “growing”) will determine the score. Percentages will be converted to numbers between 1 and 4, which will then be multiplied by 10 or 15 to give you your performance task points.
- For Value Added, you will get from 15 to 60 points depending on where you fall on the bell curve.
- For Teacher Practice, you will take your average points, as described in the previous question, and multiply by 75.
How will PSRPs be evaluated?
The new evaluation system mandated by the state does not include PSRPs. There are currently no changes to the evaluation of PSRPs, but CPS does plan to revise the PSRP evaluation system.
Will standardized tests other than NWEA be used for teacher evaluation in 2012-2013?
There are no plans of which CTU is aware to use any other standardized tests.
How will value added be used to determine student growth?
Student growth on NWEA will be measured by “value added.” This is a statistical metric designed to account for important student variables (for example, poverty or IEP status) and attribute the remaining difference in initial and ending student test scores to the teacher. Value added scores are determined through a normal distribution scale. CPS will not use value added on performance tasks.
What does the research say about value added?
Value added is unreliable—a teacher could be scored excellent one year and unsatisfactory the next. It also ranks teachers against each other, meaning a subset of teachers will always have unsatisfactory student growth measures. This is problematic because teachers with the lowest relative “value added” score always lose out, even in cases where they have helped students grow. CTU is one of many critics of value added and has told CPS not to make it part of teacher evaluation. CPS will not use value added calculations on performance tasks.
Will students evaluate teachers?
Students will not evaluate teachers unless the majority of the joint CTU-CPS committee (which has five members from each side) decides to do so.
Will student attendance be taken into consideration?
Student attendance, the number of hours a teacher sees a student, varying school climates, the percentage of homeless students in a school, the number of students with serious family issues—all of these are among the variables that can make a difference in student test scores and in the amount of class time a teacher is able to spend strictly on academics. Although CTU has brought these issues to the attention of CPS repeatedly, they have not addressed them concretely.
What is the role played by “Instructional Effectiveness Specialists”?
CPS will hire 18 Instructional Effectiveness Specialists, one for each network. These administrators will oversee principal scoring on the Teaching Framework and provide help to principals on scoring correctly. They will randomly observe a teacher with every principal twice annually, but their observation scores will not factor into the teacher’s evaluation score. If, over time, there is a radical difference in scores between the principal and the Instructional Effectiveness Specialist, CPS will assign another evaluator.
What if a principal is out to get me?
If you receive an Unsatisfactory rating or your second Developing rating, you can appeal your rating to a panel of educators agreed upon by CTU and CPS.
How were the details of the evaluation plan determined?
In Chicago, CPS and CTU had 90 days to meet and discuss how to incorporate student growth into teacher evaluation. The negotiations concluded March 29, 2012. CTU did not agree with several elements of the plan (see next two question). According to state law, without agreement, the “last best offer” of CPS becomes the plan for student growth. In the rest of the state, unions and districts have 180 days to negotiate and if they don’t agree, will default to a state model plan. CTU was able, through the contract negotiations and the strike, to change some parts of the “last best offer”.
What did CTU accomplish in negotiations? .
CTU was able to push CPS on several issues. Our participation in the negotiations helped create a plan that is better for teachers than what CPS initially proposed.
- CPS initially proposed that student growth count for 45% of a teacher’s evaluation. They now plan to use 25% in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
- Initially, CPS wanted to use student surveys as part of teacher evaluation starting next year. Now, they will pilot surveys in 2012-13, and not count them toward teacher evaluation unless the joint committee agrees.
- CPS wanted to use Explore, Plan, and ACT to measure high school student growth. Now they will pilot using these tests for evaluation in 2012-13, and not count them toward teacher evaluation but may use them in future years.
- CPS initially wanted to evaluate every teacher every year. Now, only PATs and tenured teachers with Unsatisfactory or Developing ratings will be evaluated every year.
- CPS wanted to make student growth part of the evaluation of non-classroom teachers. They will not do that in 2012-13 but will look for appropriate growth measures to use in subsequent years.
- CPS wanted every observation to count for evaluation but CTU got them to allow the first observation next year to be a practice observation, unless the teacher wants it to count.
What professional development will be associated with the new evaluation plan?
The 2012-13 CPS calendar includes professional development (PD) days only at the beginning and end of the school year. There are also four teacher institute days, one each quarter. The PD on the CPS Framework, the student growth systems, and the Common Core Standards will occur during those PD and Institute days. There will also be some PD available online. CTU has advocated for much more time for PD during the school year. Because we believe the CPS PD will be inadequate, the CTU Quest Center will provide classes to help members use the CPS Framework to improve their practice.
Shouldn’t CPS be held accountable too?
Yes, CTU has repeatedly brought up the issue of CPS accountability. CPS has given oral agreement to this idea. CTU would like them to take responsibility for optimal class sizes, correct school staffing, adequate supplies and equipment access, parent involvement, fair and respectful treatment of teachers, and other important issues. In the 1990s, when accountability was an emerging topic in education, “Opportunity to Learn Standards” were proposed. These standards were to take on the same importance as test scores, but as we know, it didn’t turn out that way. CTU wants CPS to pay at least as much attention to the issues listed above as they do to teacher evaluation and test scores. Further discussions with CPS on this topic are planned.
What should I do if I want to become more involved in CTU's efforts to monitor or in other ways affect the implementation of the new evaluation system?
Contact Carol Caref, CTU Quest Center Coordinator, and let her know how you would like to be more involved. You can also contact her if you have a question that has not been answered in these FAQs.