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.
Back to Teacher Evaluation home.
General Teacher Evaluation & PERA Questions
- Why is there a new teacher evaluation system?
- What is the CTU’s general critique of the new teacher evaluation law?
- What is the philosophy behind the push for teacher evaluation?
- Is my pay impacted by the new teacher evaluation plan?
- What are the names of the new rating categories?
- What else about teacher evaluation did the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) change?
- How many schools are implementing the new teacher Evaluation system?
- What factors comprise my evaluation?
- Are principals evaluated also?
Practical Implementation/Procedure Questions
- How are PSRPs evaluated?
- How are classroom observations conducted?
- Are unannounced observations be allowed?
- Can we be videotaped?
- How is the new teacher evaluation system better than the old checklist evaluation system?
- Who can conduct the evaluative observations under the new evaluation system?
- Can department chairs conduct evaluations?
Student Growth Questions
- What is student growth?
- What is CTU’s position on the inclusion of student growth measures for teacher evaluation?
- How does CPS assess student growth for elementary teachers?
- 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 does CPS assess student growth for non-classroom teachers such as counselors, school nurses, or social workers?
Final Rating Calculation Questions
- What carries the most weight in my summative evaluation rating?
- How are observations scored?
- How are the yearly evaluation scores, or summative ratings, determined?
- Will standardized tests other than NWEA be used for teacher evaluation in 2013-2014?
- How is the “value added measure” used to determine student growth?
- What does the research say about the use of value added measures (VAM) for teacher evaluation?
- Do students evaluate teachers under the new evaluation system?
- Is student attendance being taken into consideration for teacher evaluation?
- How were the details of the evaluation plan determined?
- What is the role played by “Instructional Effectiveness Specialists”?
- What if I feel that a principal is out to get me using the evaluation process?
- What did CTU accomplish in contract negotiations when the evaluation system was negotiated?
- What professional development is available for 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 system?
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. The emphasis on teacher evaluation as a means of improving public education is a key premise of corporate education “reformers” and their allies. These “reformers” believe that not enough teachers are receiving low ratings and they hope to weaken teacher job security. These reformers blame teachers for the so-called “failure” of public education. The fact that RTTT incentivized changing teacher evaluation as a way to secure RTTT funds demonstrated that this “reform” mindset is widespread politically. Diane Ravitch disputes this mindset in her books “The Death and Life of the Great American School System” and “Reign of Error.”
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 student 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 school wide. 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 which center all blame on teachers and overemphasize testing are bad for students and bad for education. Click here for CTU’s research-based plan to strengthen education in CPS called “The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve.”
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.
Is my pay impacted by the new teacher evaluation plan?
Because of the unity demonstrated by CTU in our strike, your pay will not be impacted during the life of the contract. However, CPS will still 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 final summative performance ratings: Excellent, Proficient, Developing (which is called “Needs Improvement” by the Illinois State Board of Education), and Unsatisfactory. NOTE: These do not correspond directly to the component scores for Teacher Practice in the CPS Framework for Teaching, other Frameworks or to the previous rating categories. For more information about how annual ratings will be calculated, please see questions #25 and 26.
What else about teacher evaluation did the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) change?
The PERA mandated 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. Click on “ELIS/Educator Credentials”, then “Public Search”. Type name of principal. Their evaluation credentials should be listed under Designations. CTU is also contractually provided with a list of current qualified evaluators. If an ISBE search of ELIS is unsuccessful, please contact the CTU to check the most updated list of qualified evaluators.
How many schools are implementing the new teacher Evaluation system?
In 2012-2013, all regular CPS schools (charters are exempted by the law) implemented the new REACH Students teacher evaluation system. Probationary Appointed Teachers, Temporary Appointed Teachers and part time teachers were evaluated for stakes under this new system in 2012-2013. Tenured teachers received a practice evaluation for no stakes in 2012-2013.
What factors comprise my evaluation?
Your evaluation is based on Teacher Practice (classroom observations accompanied by pre- and post-observation conferences) and two kinds of student growth data.
Are principals evaluated also?
Under PERA, principals and assistant principals must be evaluated beginning in September 2012 and on an annual basis. They are evaluated by central office or network administrators who have passed the pre-qualification program and training to do principal evaluations. Student growth data accounts for 50% of principal evaluation. In addition, they are evaluated by their Local School Councils.
How are PSRPs 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 in the near future.
How are classroom observations conducted?
Classroom observations consist of evidence collected about the teacher’s practice, using the CPS Framework for Teaching, an approved modification of Charlotte Danielson’s Framework. Teachers must be observed at least 4 times in order to receive a final summative rating. Evaluators are required to record in an Evidence Log what they see and hear happening and not pass judgment at the time of the observation. For example, an evaluator noting “students appear engaged” is a judgment. An evaluator noting “23 of 28 students are writing on the provided worksheet” is a fact recorded during the observation. Every formal observation includes a pre- and post-observation conference. In the post-observation conference, the observer and teacher discuss the lesson observed. The teacher reflects upon changes for the future. The evaluator makes suggestions to improve practice. The teacher and evaluator may discuss the levels of performance for the teacher as informed by the CPS Framework for Teaching and the Evidence Log.
Are unannounced observations be allowed?
CPS evaluators can conduct zero, one, or two unannounced (“informal”) observations a year per teacher for at least 15 minutes each. The number of informal observations suggested varies depending on the teacher’s tenure status and prior rating. See the CPS Teacher Evaluation Handbook for more details. Teachers should receive electronic feedback on these observations, but may request in-person feedback from the evaluator. 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. Only the components for which evidence was observed during an informal observation must be scored.
Can we be videotaped?
Currently, you cannot be videotaped without your permission.
How is the new teacher evaluation system better than the old checklist evaluation system?
The old checklist system allows principals to give teachers whatever evaluation rating they want—there is nothing that linked the “strength” or “weakness” checkmarks to any evidence from a teacher’s practice or to particular ratings. The old observation process was extremely subjective and not based on evidence gathering. The checklist did not give teachers information about their pedagogical strengths and weaknesses. Under the old system, principals were not required to have substantial pre- and post-observation conferences.
Who can conduct the evaluative observations under the new evaluation system?
Currently, only principals, assistant principals, and resident principals who have had the State of Illinois Evaluator Training and passed the test will be allowed to conduct observations for teacher evaluation purposes. Some clinicians will be evaluated by their clinical managers and some will be evaluated by school principals. See the October 2013 Monthly Teacher Evaluation Update email for more details.
Can department chairs conduct evaluations?
State law allows department chairs to be used as evaluators, but CPS has chosen not to do so under the current plan. CTU opposes the use of department chairs as evaluators for any year and we will continue to negotiate this issue with CPS as needed.
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, or the end of one school year to the end of the next. According to the PERA law, there are three types of assessments of student growth; standardized tests, district created assessments and teacher created assessments. The evaluation system currently utilizes standardized tests (EPAS, NWEA MAP) and district created assessments (Performance Tasks).
What is CTU’s position on the inclusion of student growth measures for teacher evaluation?
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. CTU is not in favor of the use of these student growth measures, especially the “value-added measure” used for elementary student growth, as it is statistically unreliable and cannot account for all factors that impact student achievement on tests.
How does CPS assess student growth for elementary teachers?
CPS uses 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 and continue to push back against this measure, 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 does 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 most grades and 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 skills that are of significance to your grade level, course and/or content.
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 are 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 does CPS assess student growth for non-classroom teachers such as counselors, school nurses, or social workers?
Non-classroom teachers are not currently evaluated on student growth. All of their evaluation will be based on observations or evidence of their work.
What carries the most weight in my summative evaluation rating?
Classroom observations will count for most of your evaluation score. If you are an elementary teacher, observations will make up the Teacher Practice part of your rating and amount to 75% of the final rating in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 and 70% in 2014-2015. If you are a high school teacher, observations will make up the Teacher Practice part of your rating and amount to 90% of the final rating in 2012-2013, 75% in 2013-2014, and 70% in 2014-2015. For all teachers, the remaining part of your evaluation score will come from student growth. If you are a non-classroom teacher, observations will make up the Teacher Practice part of your rating and amount to 100% of your final rating. CPS has the legal right to figure out an appropriate student growth measure to use for non-classroom teachers, but currently CPS has not identified an appropriate measure. CTU will continue to push for no inappropriate student growth measures to be used for evaluation.
How are observations scored?
Teachers’ observations are scored using the CPS Framework for Teaching. There are also Frameworks specifically for Counselors, Teacher-Librarians, Educational Support Specialists, Psychologists, Social Workers, Nurses, Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists. Each Framework has four Domains:
- Planning and Preparation (25% of the Teacher Practice score).
- The Classroom Environment (25% of the Teacher Practice score).
- Instruction (40% of the Teacher Practice score).
- Professional Responsibilities (10% of the Teacher Practice score).
Each Domain has four or five components. Domains 1 and 4 are considered “behind-the-scenes” domains that are difficult to observe by only watching a lesson. The components of Domain 1 are assessed largely through pre-observation conferences for formal observations. The components of Domains 2 and 3 are observed during observations and scored after each observation on a scale of 1 to 4 using the appropriate Framework. Component 4a of Domain 4 is assessed through post-observation conferences for formal observations.
The components 4b through 4e of Domain 4are scored from evidence uploaded to the Reflect and Learn System and informed by the principal’s knowledge of your responsibilities in the school. More guidelines for Domain 4 scoring will be available in late 2013.
The scores for each component of each Domain are averaged at the end of the year for final component scores out of 4. Those component scores are averaged to create final Domain scores out of 4. The final Domain scores are then multiplied by their percentage weight. These weighted scores are then tallied with the points acquired from the student growth measures to calculate a final rating according to a point scale. See question #26 for more details. An example of Teacher Practice scoring can be found here.
How are the yearly evaluation scores, or summative ratings, determined?
CTU argued for a simplified system for determining the summative rating, but CPS did not agree. CTU continues to push for modifications to this point scale. CPS’ point system is as follows:
Minimum Maximum Unsatisfactory 100 209 Needs Improvement 210 284 Proficient 285 339 Excellent 340 400
The chart below shows the minimum and maximum number of points a teacher could get in each category for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years.
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 Task, your student growth score is calculated based on the percentage of students who grew (starting and ending with the highest possible score counts as “growing”). Percentages are converted to numbers between 1 and 4, which are then multiplied by 10% or 15% to give you your Performance Task points.
- For elementary teacher Value Added measures, you receive from 15 to 60 points depending on where you fall on the bell curve. In school year 2013-2014. high school teachers will likely have EPAS test score growth calculated using a different mathematical model called “expected growth”, however, CTU is still pushing back on the use of EPAS test scores being used to evaluate high school teachers.
- For Teacher Practice, see the explanation in question #25. The total Teacher Practice score is multiplied by 75%.
- The points then achieved after each of the three components (Teacher Practice, Performance Tasks and Value Added measures) are added together create a total score out of 400 points.
Will standardized tests other than NWEA be used for teacher evaluation in 2013-2014?
There are no plans of which CTU is aware to use any other standardized tests for elementary school teachers. However, CPS is planning on using a student growth measure for high school teachers based on EPAS (Explore, Plan and ACT) testing data. CTU is continuing to argue against the use of EPAS testing data.
How is the “value added measure” used to determine student growth?
Student growth for elementary teachers is based on Spring to Spring (starting in 2013-14; previously the measure was Fall to Spring) NWEA testing data as calculated by what is called a “value added measure” (VAM). 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 the use of value added measures (VAM) for teacher evaluation?
According to the vast majority of credible education research, using value added measures for teacher evaluation is totally unreliable—the same teacher could be scored excellent one year and unsatisfactory the next on student growth using value-added measures. VAM 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 advocated for CPS not to make it part of teacher evaluation. For a critique of the VAM, see the book “The Mismeasure of Education” by Jim Horn and Denise Wilburn.
Do students evaluate teachers under the new evaluation system?
There are currently no plans to include student surveys as a part of teacher evaluation, though Article 39-1C of the contract allows the Joint CTU-CPS Committee on teacher evaluation to pilot student surveys and ultimately decide whether or not to implement them as a part of teacher evaluation.
Is student attendance being taken into consideration for teacher evaluation?
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 are among the myriad of 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. Therefore, all of these factors ultimately impact how well a teacher can perform his/her job. Although CTU has brought these issues to the attention of CPS repeatedly, they have not addressed them concretely as they relate to teacher evaluation.
How were the details of the evaluation plan determined?
In Chicago, the PERA law dictated that 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. According to state law, without agreement, the “last best offer” of CPS became 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 is the role played by “Instructional Effectiveness Specialists”?
CPS hired 18 Instructional Effectiveness Specialists, one for each network which existed in the 2012-2013 school year. These administrators oversaw principal training on the CPS Framework for Teaching and scoring calibration, to help principals score correctly. IESs also offer ongoing support in cases where principals need retraining.
What if I feel that a principal is out to get me using the evaluation process?
If you receive an Unsatisfactory rating or your second Developing rating (and your overall point score goes down), you can appeal your rating to an Appeals panel of educators agreed upon by CTU and CPS. Grievances can also be filed in cases where proper evaluation procedure was not followed. CTU staff can also work with individual teachers, PPCs, PPLCs and members to implement other strategies to push for fair evaluation.
What did CTU accomplish in contract negotiations when the evaluation system was negotiated?
CTU was able to push CPS on several issues. Our participation in the negotiations (and the strike of 2012) 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. Student growth is 25% of a teacher’s evaluation in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
- Initially, CPS wanted to use student surveys as part of teacher evaluation starting in the 2012-2013 school year. See question #32. The contract allowed student surveys to be piloted in the 2012-13 school year, however, this pilot did not occur. The Joint CTU-CPS Committee has discussed student surveys, but there is no current plan for a full pilot or implementation of student surveys for teacher evaluation.
- CPS wanted to use Explore, Plan, and ACT to measure high school student growth immediately. CTU was able to stop CPS from using EPAS to measure high school student growth for the 2012-2013 school year.
- CPS initially wanted to evaluate every teacher every year, starting in the 2012-13 school year. Now, only PATs and tenured teachers with Unsatisfactory or Developing ratings will be evaluated every year, and tenured teachers were not evaluated in 2012-13.
- CPS wanted to make student growth part of the evaluation of non-classroom teachers. CPS did not use student growth measures for non-classroom teachers during the 2012-13 school year and is not using them during the 2013-2014.
- CPS wanted every observation to count for evaluation, but CTU pushed so that PATs during the 2012-2013 school year could call their first observation a practice observation if they wanted.
- There was previously no appeal process for any ratings. During the strike, CTU negotiated so that teachers/educators who receive Unsatisfactory ratings can appeal their rating.
- CPS wanted to allow local school criteria to be used in evaluation. CTU negotiated language in the contract which says that local school criteria will only be used if the Joint CTU/CPS Evaluation Committee agreed to implement local school criteria. Currently, the Joint Committee has agreed there will be no local school criteria in teacher evaluation.
- CTU wanted four observations per evaluation rating. CPS wanted to make the four observations "best practice" but not mandatory. Four observations are now mandatory.
- CPS wanted to use mid-year ratings but CTU negotiated so that teachers will receive summative ratings only once a year.
What professional development is available for the new evaluation plan?
Because the number of PD days during the school year has been radically reduced, CPS is creating more online resources, webinars and some after school PD. Their offerings can be found on the Knowledge Center (kc.cps.edu). CTU has worked with CPS to hire members to act as Framework Specialists who offer PD sessions and create support materials to help teachers with the new evaluation system. However, CTU has advocated that much more time and resources be available for evaluation-related PD during the school year. Because we believe CPS PD is inadequate, the CTU Quest Center provides classes related to specific components of the CPS Framework for Teaching to help members improve their practice. In addition, CTU staff can answer question and lead school meetings about the evaluation process.
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, or Jennifer Johnson, CTU Special Projects Facilitator for Teacher Evaluation if you have questions that have not been answered in these FAQs or if you’d like to be involved in helping members with the evaluation process.