Kentucky is improving teacher and principal effectiveness systems to provide educators with more meaningful feedback and support so they can maximize student learning. The vision for the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES) is to have every student taught by an effective teacher and every school led by an effective principal. The goal is to create a fair and equitable system to measure teacher and leader effectiveness and act as a catalyst for professional growth.
Several federal programs (Kentucky’s Race to the Top grant and waiver of flexibility on federal accountability under No Child Left Behind) mandate a new statewide teacher and principal evaluation system based, in part, on student growth. Effective teaching and school leadership depend on clear standards and expectations, reliable feedback, and the tools, resources and support for professional growth and continuous improvement. The Kentucky Department of Education, with the guidance and oversight of various steering committees, has designed, developed, field tested and piloted a new statewide Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES). This new system will help elevate the public perception that all educators are professionals and are afforded the same rigors of professional evaluation and growth as other professions.
The new system is being formed by The MET Project (Measures of Effective Teaching). The goal of the MET study was to find out how evaluation methods can best be used to tell teachers more about the skills that make them most effective and to help districts identify great teaching. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently released the MET Project Policy and Practitioner Brief.
Teaching is too complex for any single measure of performance to capture it accurately. Assessing effective teaching requires multiple sources of evidence. The following sources of evidence are used in the PGES for teachers: observation, peer observation, reflection, professional growth, student growth and student voice.
A common language and understanding of effective teaching is the foundation of this system. Kentucky has adopted the Framework for Teaching which is based on the work of Charlotte Danielson. The framework includes the following indicators of effective teaching in four domains of practice: planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction and professional responsibilities.
Critical to the design of the Professional Growth & Effectiveness System is the collaboration with key stakeholders. Key partnerships with KASA, KSBA, KEA, JCTA, CPE, EPSB, colleges and universities were used to form a Teacher Effectiveness Steering Committee to provide ongoing guidance on the development and recommendations for deployment of the PGES.
During the 2012-2013 school year, over 50 school districts in Kentucky participated in a field test of the new system. The field test allowed educator experience and feedback to inform improvements prior to the statewide pilot during the 2013-2014 school year. During the statewide pilot in 2013-2014, at least 10% of the schools in each district are implementing the Professional Growth & Effectiveness System. In 2014-2015 the system will be fully implemented statewide with full accountability in Spring 2015.