Learning-Centered Teacher Evaluation in Wisconsin

Learning-Centered Teacher Evaluation in Wisconsin

Steven M. Kimball (UW-Madison, Wisconsin Center for Education Research, USA), Katharine M. Rainey (Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, USA) and Mark Mueller (Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0204-3.ch029
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Much of the attention to recent developments in the United States on teacher evaluation policy has focused on high stakes uses of evaluation results or the ability of system measures to differentiate performance. In this chapter, the authors review one state's efforts to build a learning-centered teacher evaluation system. Following an overview of the principles embraced during the state's development and roll-out the system, the focus turns to the evaluation design, including how the measures, processes and training build on the principles. Findings from district visits illustrate local implementation opportunities and struggles. The authors describe current statewide training plans in response to preliminary implementation findings and conclude with challenges that will need to be addressed to promote learning-centered evaluation.
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Prior research on teacher evaluation highlighted problems with evaluation design, implementation and impact (Loup, Garland, Ellett, & Rugutt, 1996; Medley & Coker, 1987; Weisberg, Sexton, Mulhern, & Keeling, 2009; Wise, Darling-Hammond, McLaughlin, & Bernstein, 1984). Teacher evaluations were largely seen as perfunctory, and based on limited evidence of practice, with basic observation checklists, and outdated teacher evaluation standards. As a result, both teachers and principals held low expectations for the use of evaluation results to inform practice changes or personnel decisions.

Economic studies of teacher effects (Chetty, Friedman, & Rockoff, 2011; Dee & Wyckoff, 2013; Hanushek, 2010) and meta-analyses of teaching practices (Hattie, 2009) demonstrate the impact of teachers on student learning outcomes. Although these studies confirm the large contribution of student home environment (i.e., socioeconomic status, parent involvement in learning), the research indicates that teaching practices have important influence on student learning and there is more variation in teacher effectiveness within schools than between schools.

A final impetus for the new teacher evaluation approaches relates to the promise of multi-measure, standards-based evaluation designs to inform professional growth and a range of human resource decisions (Milanowski, Kimball, & Odden, 2005; Taylor & Tyler, 2012; Kane & Staiger, 2012). Most recently, the Gates Foundation supported Measures of Effective Teaching studies (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2013) affirmed prior research on the validity of teacher observation measures based on the Framework for Teaching (Danielson, 2013), as well as extended knowledge on observer training and the potential for additional measures, such as student surveys and value-added student assessment results, to increase confidence in the use of multiple measures for teacher evaluation purposes.

Drawing on these three areas of research, policy initiatives including Race to the Top, the Teacher Incentive Fund, the School Improvement Grant program, and requirements for waivers from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act issued by the Federal Department of Education, have called on states and districts to revise their teacher evaluation systems to include new measures of professional practice and student outcomes (Cosner et al., 2014). The initiatives have also required states and districts to apply the measures to a range of personnel decisions, such as hiring, contract renewal, pay, promotion, and professional development.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Growth-Oriented Evaluation: Performance assessment with the primary goal of improving an individual’s practice.

Observation: A primary source of evidence used to provide feedback on teaching practice as well as to assess teaching performance.

Continuous Improvement: An ongoing process of problem identification, planning, assessment, feedback, and plan revision that occurs in a cycle leading to growth of the individual, system, or organization.

Summary Year: In Wisconsin, Summary Year evaluations are required during the first year of employment in a district and every third year thereafter. Summary Year evaluations include assessment of all relevant Student Learning Objectives as well as a teacher practice assessment based on teaching standards (i.e., the Framework for Teaching).

Professional Practice Goals: Goals developed by educators using reflections on prior evaluation results and/or current self-assessment on teaching standards.

Student Learning Objective: Rigorous, attainable goals for student learning growth aligned to appropriate standards set by individual educators for a specific period of time.

Supporting Years: In Wisconsin, Supporting Years cover the two-year time period between Summary Year evaluations. During Supporting Years, educators engage in evaluation activities, but are not formally evaluated.

Feedback: Information provided, typically by another person or people, about performance based on observable evidence.

Educator Effectiveness System: A system of educator self-reflection, goal setting, data collection, and feedback that contributes to performance assessment and individual growth.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
James B. Hunt Jr.
Teresa Petty, Amy J. Good, Michael Putman
Chapter 1
Teresa Petty, Amy J. Good, Laura K. Handler
The purpose of this study is to report National Board Certified Teachers' (NBCTs) motivators for pursuing National Board Certification. The... Sample PDF
National Board Certification in North Carolina: Five Motivators for Pursuit
Chapter 2
Tracy L. Coskie, Nancy A. Place
In this chapter the authors present a framework for teacher inquiry. Drawing on data from two multiple-year qualitative studies of National Board... Sample PDF
The Role of Inquiry in Teachers' Learning from the National Board Certification Process
Chapter 3
Amber Elizabeth Benedict, Mary T. Brownell, Cynthia C. Griffin, Jun Wang, Jonte A Myers
This chapter examines the role professional development (PD) plays in preparing teachers to teach within Response to Intervention (RTI) frameworks... Sample PDF
Leveraging Professional Development to Prepare General and Special Education Teachers to Teach within Response to Intervention Frameworks
Chapter 4
Drew Polly
The process of providing effective ongoing professional development to teachers is an arduous task for educational leaders. In areas, such as... Sample PDF
Examining What Elementary School Teachers Take Away from Mathematics Professional Development
Chapter 5
David George Brobeck, Alan J Digianantonio, Michelle J Elia
The primary purpose of this chapter is to contribute to the body of professional development literature on the practical application of active... Sample PDF
A Meta-Synthesis of WBT and Active Learning Pedagogies: Faculty Development, Give Brainpower a Boost
Chapter 6
Sheri G. Lederman, Bruce Torff
Effective instruction begins at the level of each individual student in a classroom. It is not enough for educators to simply assess prior content... Sample PDF
Teachers as First Responders: Executive Function Knowledge Improves Instruction
Chapter 7
Elizabeth Hartney
Teaching has been identified as one of the most stressful professions, with a high attrition rate resulting from teacher stress and burnout. This... Sample PDF
Stress Management to Enhance Teaching Quality and Teaching Effectiveness: A Professional Development Framework for Teachers
Chapter 8
Dante Cisterna, Amelia Wenk Gotwals, Tara M Kintz, John Lane, Edward Roeber
The purpose of this chapter is to describe a statewide professional development program designed to improve teachers' knowledge and practices... Sample PDF
Potentials and Challenges of a Situated Professional Development Model
Chapter 9
Dianne S. McCarthy, Barbara A. Burns
The development of the educative teacher performance assessment (edTPA) might be considered as beginning over a century ago as mathematics... Sample PDF
Mathematics Teacher Education and edTPA: Complex Assessing
Chapter 10
Tanya Judd Pucella
This chapter reviews the case for leadership development opportunities for pre-service educators so that prospective teacher leaders are willing and... Sample PDF
Not Too Young to Lead: Preparing Pre-Service Teachers to Lead
Chapter 11
Kelly M. Anderson
Preparing high quality teachers for practice in P-12 schools has been an extensively debated and controversial topic for many years. Today, with the... Sample PDF
Preparing Teachers in the Age of Equity and Inclusion
Chapter 12
Bruce VanSledright, Liliana Maggioni
This chapter explores the learning outcomes for 45 teachers involved in three different federally-funded Teaching American History (TAH) grant... Sample PDF
Preparing Teachers to Teach Historical Thinking?: An Interplay Between Professional Development Programs and School-Systems' Cultures
Chapter 13
Barbara H. Davis, Terri Cearley-Key
This chapter describes the Teacher Fellows Program. This program is a school/university partnership that has provided comprehensive mentoring and... Sample PDF
Teacher Fellows: A School/University Partnership for Beginning Teachers
Chapter 14
Scott M. Waring
As providers of professional development opportunities for educators envision what they do, there is strong evidence that productive and effective... Sample PDF
Teaching with Primary Sources: Moving from Professional Development to a Model of Professional Learning
Chapter 15
Marsha L. Carr
Self-mentoring, the act of leading oneself in an unknown environment, is a sustainable practice of leadership with developing teacher leaders. One... Sample PDF
Using Self-Mentoring to Increase Teacher Efficacy and Confidence as Leaders: A Review of Multiple Studies from the Field
Chapter 16
Nancy P. Gallavan
Educating the whole child, the basis of U.S. education and the progressive education movement, is imperative for teacher candidates to understand... Sample PDF
Mediating the Sources and Benefits of Teacher Self-Efficacy for Systemic Transformative Meaning-Making
Chapter 17
S. Michael Putman, Laura K. Handler
Within the current educational context, teacher preparation programs are under increasing pressure to demonstrate their effectiveness in producing... Sample PDF
Multi-Semester Community Building in Higher Education: Examining the Impact on Teacher Education Candidates' Development and Teaching Self-Efficacy
Chapter 18
Moira Hulme
The professional development of teachers has attracted much critical attention in each of the four nations of the United Kingdom since 2010. This... Sample PDF
What Counts as Quality Teaching?: Diverging Pathways in the Dis-United Kingdom
Chapter 19
H. Carol Greene, Jane C Manner
Well over 16,000,000 children live in poverty in the United States. One of the widest achievement gaps in education today exists between children... Sample PDF
A National Crisis and a Call to Action: Preparing Teachers to Teach Children from Poverty
Chapter 20
Gayle Y. Thieman
A major revision in a graduate teacher education program (GTEP) at a mid-sized urban university provided an opportunity to rethink goals as teacher... Sample PDF
Revising a Teacher Education Program for Diversity and Social Justice through Culturally Responsive Coursework and Professional Collaboration
Chapter 21
Adam S. Kennedy, Amy J. Heineke
This chapter presents a case for field-based teacher preparation through mutually beneficial community partnerships in diverse urban contexts. Such... Sample PDF
Preparing Urban Educators to Address Diversity and Equity through Field-Based Teacher Education: Implications for Program Design and Implementation
Chapter 22
Nicole Webster, Heather Coffey, Anthony Ash
In an era marked by major political and social change, teachers of urban students must be prepared to engage and appreciate an ever-changing... Sample PDF
#UrbanLivesMatter: Empowering Learners through Transformative Teaching
Chapter 23
Azure C. Covington, Ayana Allen, Chance W. Lewis
Culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP) (Paris & Alim, 2014) presents a new lens by which culturally relevant pedagogy can evolve with the... Sample PDF
Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy and Hip-Hop Based Education: A Professional Development Framework in Rap Cypher and Battle to Promote Student Engagement and Academic Achievement
Chapter 24
Erik Jon Byker, Tingting Xu, Juan Chen
In the twenty-first century, teachers and those who are preparing to become teachers are situated in a global and technological context. Such... Sample PDF
Teacher Quality in the Twenty-First Century: Developing Globally Competent Teachers
Chapter 25
Ruth Baker-Gardner
This chapter examines the implementation of teacher induction programs to assist new teachers in the Anglophone Caribbean who, like their... Sample PDF
Induction of Teachers in the English Speaking Caribbean
Chapter 26
Anne Henry Cash
This chapter describes current and future approaches to evaluating teacher preparation programs. Available assessments and common preparation... Sample PDF
A Call for Mixed Methods in Evaluating Teacher Preparation Programs
Chapter 27
Paul G. Fitchett, Sally Lineback, Christopher J. McCarthy, Richard G. Lambert
Teacher attrition can have a disruptive effect within a school, negatively impacting student learning. Moreover, teachers' reported working... Sample PDF
Examining the Relationship Among Teachers' Working Conditions, Stress, and Professional Trajectory
Chapter 28
Amanda R. Bozack
During the 1980s Connecticut was on the leading edge of national educational reform, developing performance standards for teachers and students... Sample PDF
Policy Impact on Teacher Induction: Connecticut's Story
Chapter 29
Steven M. Kimball, Katharine M. Rainey, Mark Mueller
Much of the attention to recent developments in the United States on teacher evaluation policy has focused on high stakes uses of evaluation results... Sample PDF
Learning-Centered Teacher Evaluation in Wisconsin
Chapter 30
Robert William Smith, Scott Imig
A debate is currently being waged across the United States over the value of teacher experience and education. Multiple states have introduced new... Sample PDF
Taken by the Numbers: How Value-Added Measures Distort Our View of Teachers' Work.
Chapter 31
Cathy G. Powell, Yasar Bodur
Quality teaching and student achievement have been the focus of much debate and research throughout the American education system. Despite... Sample PDF
Professional Development for Quality Teaching and Learning: A Focus on Student Learning Outcomes
Chapter 32
Nichole Lynnette Smith, Dawn C. Waegerle
The purpose of this research study was to examine the impact on teachers' understanding and use of content literacy strategies at the secondary... Sample PDF
Secondary Education and Content Literacy in Inclusive Classrooms
About the Contributors