Florida DOE Releases Teacher Evaluation Data

On Wednesday, December 3, 2014, the Florida Department of Education released the 2013-14 Preliminary District Educator Evaluation Results report on its Performance Evaluation website.

As explained by the FLDOE press release:

“Evaluation results are assigned by districts to teachers, non-classroom personnel and school administrators, based on the district’s approved evaluation system. During the first week of August, DOE provided each school district with student growth results. The districts then applied locally established cut points, which were combined with Instructional Practice Score data, and incorporated student learning growth data from local assessments where appropriate, resulting in each individual’s annual evaluation.”

A message for this story from Education Commissioner Pam Stewart:

“I want to thank all of the dedicated teachers and administrators around the state who are helping prepare Florida’s students for successful futures. Evaluations are just one of the many tools we have to analyze teacher performance, and I’m proud that the majority of our teachers scored so well. There’s no doubt that some of our school districts still need improvement and we should not have any failing schools. This is why we’re continuing to examine many factors that affect student outcomes, including our assessments.”

Educator Evaluations

Also on the Performance Evaluation website, one can archive the finalized educator evaluation reports from the previous two school years to compare and contrast the results.

As one can see, the number of Highly Effective teachers increased dramatically over the past three years:  22.6% for the 2011-12 school year; 32.4% for the 2012-13 school year; and 42.4% thus far for the 2013-14 school year (subject to revision due to school district collective bargaining; some district data may be from last year’s values and cut scores).

The report for the 2013-14 school year will be revised in January and March 2015.

From personal knowledge, and as explained by an FLDOE spokeswoman, the VAM data is interpreted differently by each school district, and cutoff scores for ratings are negotiated by school districts and their unions per collective bargaining- hence the disparity of ratings between school districts.

For some reason, Miami-Dade County Public Schools and UTD did not come to an agreement yet on cutoff scores, but I got my VAM score though a public records request.

If you are a teacher and want to know your VAM score, and thus your final numerical score, and your school district did not release it yet, put in a public records request with your school district. It is public information and they had it since August.

VAM Scores and Data

For the most part, only teachers who actually teach Reading and Math have VAM scores- depending on the school district.

Many do not take stock in VAM, or believe in, it as only 35% of teachers actually teach Reading or Math and 65% of teachers are given these scores though they teach neither subject.  After all, the FLDOE develops it and the raw data means nothing at a precursory glance as it is up to the school district to interpret it.

An explanation from the email addressed to me from the FLDOE:

“Florida’s value-added models (VAM) are used to measure the contribution of a teacher or school on student learning. They do this by measuring the difference in student performance on a statewide assessment from one year to the next, and then accounting for other factors that show impact on the learning process. The factors are specific student, classroom and school characteristics that are shown to impact student learning.

The amount of the teacher’s contribution to student learning is provided through a value-added score. The value-added score reflects the average amount of learning growth of the teacher’s students above or below the expected learning growth of similar students in the state, using the factors accounted for in the model.

A few things to remember according to the FLDOE:

  • VAM scores are only a portion of the overall teacher evaluation. VAM – or student learning growth – comprises 50 percent of the overall evaluation. Instructional practice, as measured by the school district, makes up the remaining 50 percent.
  • A teacher’s evaluation is only one of the many tools we have to analyze teacher performance.
  • While 2013-14 teacher evaluations are preliminary at this point, VAM scores are set. Teacher evaluations will be updated in January.
  • A complete explanation of value added, including Q&A, is posted on our website at http://www.fldoe.org/teaching/performance-evaluation/.”

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of Jacksonville.com.