Evaluation System Unclear to Isle Teachers, Survey Finds

By Kalani, Nanea | Honolulu Star - Advertiser, April 8, 2014 | Go to article overview

Evaluation System Unclear to Isle Teachers, Survey Finds


Kalani, Nanea, Honolulu Star - Advertiser


Fewer than 1 in 6 Hawaii public school teachers say they fully understand how their performance rating is calculated under the state's controversial new evaluation system for teachers -- which starting next school year will tie ratings to pay raises, tenure and termination -- according to survey results released Monday.

A joint survey of teachers by the state Department of Education and Hawaii?State Teachers Association also found 20 percent of respondents do not understand the evaluation system overall.

The head of the teachers union says the results are consistent with concerns teachers have been raising since the evaluations were implemented statewide last fall, including a lack of clarity about the system's design and the need for more time to prepare for the six areas measured by the evaluations.

"Eighteen percent (of teachers) felt they truly understand this evaluation system -- only 18 percent of the whole membership," HSTA President Wil Okabe said in an interview. "Twenty percent said they don't know anything about it. Everyone else is somewhere in the middle. There needs to be a way to create understanding for everybody in order for these evaluations to be equitable and fair."

A joint committee made up of state DOE and HSTA officials conducted the survey, which was done by Ward Research and funded by the Castle Foundation. About 32 percent of HSTA's 13,500 members, or 4,280 teachers, completed the online survey, which has a margin of error of 1.3 percentage points.

The joint committee is called for in teachers' 2013-17 labor contract to review the design, validity, reliability and supports for the performance evaluations -- known as the Educator Effectiveness System, or EES -- and recommend changes to improve its design and implementation. The committee has met four times in the past nine months.

"The DOE has made very clear that this is a work in progress,"?Okabe said. "What's clear from this survey and polls that HSTA has been doing is that the current system is taking a lot of time. We don't want to have a system that's taking away from student learning."

An executive summary prepared by Ward?Research said that "when asked for suggestions or comments as to what else can be done to improve their performance or understanding of the (Educator Effectiveness System), respondents, overall, asked for more time" to prep for evaluation as well as more constructive feedback and guidelines. …

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