Students in TUSD Will Rate Teachers ; Pupil Evaluations Will Count for 10% of Instructor's Score

By Huicochea, Alexis | AZ Daily Star, July 17, 2015 | Go to article overview

Students in TUSD Will Rate Teachers ; Pupil Evaluations Will Count for 10% of Instructor's Score


Huicochea, Alexis, AZ Daily Star


Teachers in TUSD will face a new layer of assessment as part of their job evaluations from a group often loaded with harsh critics - - students.

Students across grade levels will submit surveys to be included in a teacher's evaluation that rate the climate of their classroom in several areas including care, challenge, control and their instructor's ability to captivate.

The number of questions ranges from 10 to 25 depending on grade level and will account for 10 percent of the evaluation score.

That's more weight than the teacher's self-assessment, which accounts for just 1 percent of an evaluation.

The questions are designed to keep students from taking revenge on a teacher, officials say.

The online survey seeks levels of agreement with statements like "Our class stays busy and does not waste time" or "if you don't understand something, my teacher explains it another way," with students responding on a scale of one to four.

The decision to incorporate student opinion in teacher evaluations is a compromise between TUSD, the teachers' union and the special master -- a national desegregation expert tasked with overseeing TUSD's effort to overcome achievement disparities and bring racial balance to schools.

The special master, according to TUSD, initially wanted the student survey to make up 19 percent of the evaluation.

Academic growth accounts for more than one-third of a teacher's evaluation and more than 50 percent comes from a framework focused on planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction and professional responsibilities.

The Tucson Education Association, which represents TUSD teachers, says it is interested to see how the survey data can be utilized to improve instruction.

"This wasn't a concept brought forth by TEA," President Jason Freed said. "But we do believe the information that can be gleaned from the surveys will have a positive effect on student-teacher relations."

Freed added the 10 percent weight will minimize the impact on individual teacher evaluation scores.

The new teacher evaluation, approved Tuesday by the Governing Board, disregarded a recommendation by the special master to utilize independent evaluators rather than principals as is done now. …

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