Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Five Takeaways From The 2012-13 Educator Effectiveness Ratings

Ben Davis Ninth Grade Center Assistant Principal Steve Samuel observes a lesson in Wes Upton's social studies class.

Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

Ben Davis Ninth Grade Center Assistant Principal Steve Samuel observes a lesson in Wes Upton's social studies class.

The vast majority of Indiana educators received “effective” or “highly effective” ratings during the first year of state-mandated teacher evaluations.

Indiana schools reported evaluating more than 55,000 teachers, counselors and administrators during the 2012-13 academic year, according to figures released Monday by the Department of Education. Of those licensed educators who were rated, more than 97 percent received the top two scores.

(You can look up the results for your school or corporation in our sortable tables.)

Indiana lawmakers voted in 2011 to overhaul how teachers are evaluated and paid. But the legislature stopped short of mandating what evaluation system each school corporation should use.

“This is not designed to compare one school corporation to another,” says Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn. “This is designed for a principal to do a vigorous evaluation of their teachers in their building.”

Every district must divide teachers into four categories and include student test score data as a factor in assigning ratings. Still, the criteria used to determine a teacher’s rating could look very different as you travel district to district.

Lawmakers did require districts to link their evaluation system to teacher pay. Some districts have overhauled their salary schedule as a result. Others will reward teachers who received top ratings with a one-time bonus.

Here are five things to know about Indiana’s first-ever educator effectiveness ratings.

  1. Sixty Indiana school corporations did not report any “ineffective” or “improvement necessary” educators. The vast majority of school corporations placed 90 percent or more of their teachers in the top categories. “One of my first impressions would be also, that’s a pretty high percentage to be the top two categories,” Kruse tells StateImpact. “But I have visited many schools … and I honestly am impressed with the teachers when I go into the schools and when I go into classrooms and I meet with teachers. We have a lot of good teachers in Indiana.”
  2. Your school or district may be missing from the 2012-13 data. Also in 2011, state lawmakers changed the rules for collective bargaining — and many districts rushed to sign extended contracts before the law took effect on July 1, 2011. That means those districts won’t be required to report their evaluation results to the state until after those contracts expire. You can find the full list of districts that did not submit results here.
  3. Teachers at F-rated schools were more likely than teachers at A-rated to schools to go unranked during the 2012-13 school year.

    Indiana Department of Education

    Teachers at F-rated schools were more likely than teachers at A-rated to schools to go unranked during the 2012-13 school year.

    Even if your school rated educators this year, your child’s teacher may not have been evaluated. Across the state, about 10 percent of educators in districts that submitted data did not receive a rating for the 2012-13 school year. That’s because the teachers didn’t satisfy all the requirements for evaluation. For example, the teacher might have retired mid-year or taken time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act. According to an IDOE analysis, teachers at schools that received an F from the state were somewhat more likely than educators at A-rated schools not to receive a rating.

  4. Two-thirds of school corporations are using the state’s teacher evaluation model or a modified version of it. The IDOE developed and piloted the RISE model under former state superintendent Tony Bennett. The state model calls for making student test score data a bigger part of a teacher’s rating in grades where standardized tests are given. But many districts have tweaked that model so test scores are given the same weight for all teachers. Districts are free to change which evaluation system they are using from year to year, says IDOE spokesman Daniel Altman. “We don’t support one model over another.”
  5. Charter schools aren’t required to report their data to the state — at least not yet. Legislation passed this session will also require public charter schools to report their teacher evaluation results to the state. Private schools, however, will remain exempt from Indiana’s educator effectiveness requirements.



  • indyscott

    At what point will they allow parents or students to evaluate teachers in this process. Parent/student comments or surveys at the end of the year should be one part of the total evaluation process of teachers and might give another perspective as to how well the teacher is doing.

    • ExperiencedEducator

      At the same time as teachers get to evaluate the job parents are doing at parenting and making sure that their students do assigned work and come to school with the idea that getting an education is important..

      • indyscott

        This isn’t to be negative toward educators but they are hired to do a job and their customers (the student and his or her parents) should have the right to evaluate the service they receive. This could be beneficial to some teachers and not so beneficial to others. Course evaluations are given to students at colleges every semester which provide great feedback to both the professor and the school in making needed adjustments. The same can also be done in K-12 education.

        • Karynb9

          While I know some would debate whether or not a junior in college has the same level of maturity and perspective as the typical kindergartener, I tend to think that a college student is better equipped than a five year old to make value judgments about the positive or negative impacts that a teacher may make. Elementary school kids know whether or not their teacher makes them “happy” — not whether or not they’ve been well-prepared for a life that they have barely even started living. I don’t think that the teacher who gives her first grade students extra recesses and mini candy bars and lots of smiley-face stickers is automatically a more effective teacher than one who does not, and that’s the type of criteria that an elementary kid is going to consider — not the availability of the office hours and whether assignments are graded and returned in a timely manner and how receptive the professor is to answering questions during lectures.

          • indyscott

            Parents are more active with their elementary students so they would be the ones to do the evaluation at that level. I would think the upper levels especially high school students would be mature enough to do their own but parents could also be included at those levels although there isn’t nearly the same teacher/parent interaction as the student gets older.

          • Karynb9

            The problem is that, as a teacher, my “job” isn’t to make my customers happy — it’s to educate them. Can that lead to happiness? Absolutely. Does it always do so immediately? No, not always. Looking back at my “student life,” even as a high school student, the teachers that I often liked the least because I felt they were too demanding and didn’t always answer my questions the way I wanted them answered (“How dare he tell me to ‘Look it up’ and suggest a resource instead of just telling me the answer right away! What a waste of my time!”) or made me actually STUDY for their tests or made me write a lot of papers (“He marked me off a point for having 1.25 inch margins instead of 1 inch? How horrible!”) were ultimately the ones that I now appreciate and respect the most because of the fact that they truly educated me and prepared me for college and for life. However, that’s not what I saw at the time. The best teacher I ever had would have been woefully ineffective in my eyes at the end of my year with him, and possibly in my parents’ eyes as well because they just saw me stressed out and heard me complaining about him all year long. However, with the passage of time and the addition of perspective and life experience, he was absolutely highly effective. As a teacher, I’m not always planting seeds that will grow and blossom by the end of the year — some kids are “slow bloomers” and students AND their parents don’t always see the effects of a terrific teacher for several years down the road.

  • pafan

    I do not see schools and businesses and kids as products. About 80% of a student’s standardized test score is beyond the influence of the school according to multiple studies. A child’s ability level and home life impacts them far more than any teacher or school program ever well. We are all products of the environment we are raised in. (This is also based on unreliable standardized test scores that have questions on them that the average student is expected to miss so that a score spread can be achieved)
    With respect to parents and students, they have no say, and should not have a say in teacher evaluations. Teachers are not serving “customers”. They are providing educational guidance. Unfortunately, many parents who do contact teachers simply want to push them around and get what they want on discipline and many trivial issues. (These types also seem to have no interest in their child’s education)
    I find it amazing that instead of saying “look at the great teachers we have in Indiana”, the response from many political figures and other “experts” is to complain about the results.
    Indiana: A national embarrassment in “education reform.”

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