A new state law requires that public school teachers be evaluated based on uniform standards, so the Department of Education is spending about $2 million to use an online system to train and assess administrators who would do so.
Teacher evaluations will be linked to student achievement as the department implements the Teacher Evaluation Effectiveness System. It must be in all Pennsylvania school districts by next school year.
The project began in 2010 when the department received $800,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to "help develop statewide policy, tools and processes to evaluate teachers (and principals) in which student achievement is a significant factor affecting performance ratings," Education Department spokesman Tim Eller wrote in an e-mail.
The agency is buying licenses for the online Framework for Teaching Proficiency System to train 5,330 administrators. It will purchase the licenses from San Francisco-based TeachScape Inc. in phases through a contract ending in 2015.
The state's 29 intermediate units, which are educational service agencies, will train teachers and evaluators who must observe and gather evidence, said Rosanne Javorsky, assistant executive director of teaching and learning at Allegheny Intermediate Unit.
The TeachScape system includes 35 hours of training for evaluators and culminates in a test, said Scott Noon, vice president of business development at TeachScape. …