The first results are in for Seattle Public Schools’ new teacher evaluation program.
As part of the program, teachers in roughly one-third of the district’s schools were scored on classroom observation and student test scores.
Of Seattle’s 3,000 teachers, only 132 were given evaluations. The evaluations were limited to teachers of testable subjects like math, history, English and science.
A majority of the teachers received average scores. Nine percent, or 12 teachers, scored higher than average. The remaining 26 teachers were given low marks, scoring less than 35-percent in the rankings.
This is the first phase in the district’s attempt to comply with federal and state legislation that requires that all teachers be evaluated. Currently the evaluations are limited to teachers at only 30 of the district’s schools and only for those teachers who “opt-in” to the program.
An evaluation system involving all teachers would have to be negotiated into the teachers’ contracts. Those contracts expire at the end of the current school year.
Teresa Wippel, spokesperson for Seattle Schools, said those teachers receiving low scores will have another year to improve their performance before any corrective measures will be taken.
Wippel said, “Studies have shown one year of data is not enough to make a reliable determination as to a teacher’s abilities.”
Teachers were given their individual scores last week.
This week SPS released the overall evaluations publicly, but refused to release teacher or school rankings citing privacy concerns. As a result, parents will not be able to identify whether their child’s teacher was given a low score or even if that teacher was evaluated.