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Bossier School Board happy with Compass results


The Department of Education earlier this week released a report on Louisiana’s first year of statewide administrator, teacher, and counselor evaluation, showing that overall results per school district correspond with the improvement students are experiencing in those districts.

The tool evaluators used, called Compass, was created by Act 54 of the 2010 Regular Legislative Session as a result of past tools’ failure to provide educators with accurate guidance on their performance.

Before Compass, nearly 99 percent of educators in Louisiana received a one-size-fits-all rating of “satisfactory.” After the passage of Act 54, the Compass system was developed by a committee of educators, union leaders, and policymakers. After a ten district pilot during the 2011-2012 school year, this past school year marked the first year of statewide implementation. Half of administrators’, teachers’, and counselors’ ratings were based on student learning from one year to the next, as determined by a combination of statistical data and the educator’s student learning targets. Half of the evaluation was based on observations of school leadership or classroom teaching.

Classroom teachers’ final ratings ranged from 32 percent of teachers rated as Highly Effective and 57 percent rated as Effective Proficient to 8 percent of teachers rated Effective Emerging and 4 percent rated Ineffective.  School leaders’ ratings ranged from 28 percent Highly Effective and 61 percent Effective Proficient to 9 percent of leaders rated Effective Emerging and 2 percent Ineffective.

“This is a great accomplishment for our state. I want to say thank you to the educators and leaders who worked so hard to make this first year of using Compass statewide so successful,” said State Superintendent John White. “The increase in focused feedback Louisiana educators received this year will pay great dividends for our students. The alignment between student progress results and the evaluation results shows the rigor with which many school and district leaders approached this process. We have changes to make, but for the first year, we should be very proud.”

D.C. Machen, Superintendent of Bossier Schools, participated in this morning’s conference call with the Department of Education and is especially pleased by our 2012-13 performance results.

“We appreciate State Superintendent John White’s remarks about Bossier Schools Teachers’ Compass results in both of the areas of high student outcomes and professional practice ratings,” said D.C. Machen, Superintendent of Bossier Schools. “We are certainly pleased by these COMPASS ratings. Our students did a great job achieving success in the classroom, with 82% of them being on grade level. It is both reflective of and equated to high teacher performance across Bossier Parish.”

Beyond providing a comprehensive summary of districts’ and schools’ use of the Compass tool, the report details important trends:

  • Evaluators’ ratings align with student Aachievement and improvement —Unlike in past years, evaluation results for administrators and teachers generally align with student progress and achievement results in school districts.
  • Districts making significant progress with low-income students set a high bar for classroom teaching excellence inobservations — Some districts that achieved high levels of growth in 2012-2013 used classroom observations to set a particularly high bar for teaching quality, giving educators increased feedback and room to improve. This was particularly evident in districts that made gains with low-income students, implying a link between the rigor of classroom observations and student progress in challenging settings.
  • Compass evaluators should strive for a high bar for teaching excellence — In the second year of using the tool, Compass evaluators should seek a high bar for school leadership and teaching excellence. In the first year, evaluators’ classroom observation scores and student learning target scores were not as rigorous in their distribution as were value-added scores. Additionally, evaluator rigor varied from district to district, especially in classroom and school leadership observation, implying a need for common expectations from one school and district to the next.
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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.