Evaluations process shows improvement, State Board official says

School administrators are doing a better job of following the rules for completing teacher evaluations, a State Board of Education official said Thursday.

Christina Linder

The state ran spot checks on close to 800 teacher evaluations for 2016-17, and 56 percent of the evaluations complied fully with state rule. That’s an improvement from 51 percent compliance in 2015-16, said Christina Linder, the State Board’s educator effectiveness program manager.

Evaluations now take on added importance, under the state’s 2015 career ladder salary law. Evaluations can determine whether a teacher is eligible to move up the career ladder and receive a pay raise.

Evaluations compliance has been a recurring issue. In 2016, an outside firm audited 225 evaluations, and found only three of the evaluations fully compliant with state guidelines. Idaho Education News obtained this report through a public records request.

After Linder presented the latest numbers to the Senate Education Committee Thursday, Sen. Jim Guthrie asked why administrators are struggling to follow state rule.

“This almost looks remedial in nature,” said Guthrie, R-Inkom.

Linder said the state has been trying to develop a consistent process — so all teachers have a fair chance at getting a raise, regardless of where they work. “Maybe that’s the part that seems remedial,” Linder said.

Committee chairman Dean Mortimer emphasized the improvements he’s seeing in the process. And he said a credible, valid evaluations process will translate into student improvement.

“I think that will come,” said Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls.

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