The Wisconsin Learning-Centered Teacher Evaluation Study: Informing Policy and Practice

WCER Working Paper No. 2019-6

Steven Kimball, Jessica Arrigoni, Herb Heneman, Elisabeth Geraghty, Daniel Marlin, Bradley Carl, Curtis Jones, Elizabeth Cain, Anthony Milanowski, and Katharine Rainey

August 2019, 36 pp.

ABSTRACT: Major teacher evaluation changes have occurred across the nation during the past decade. Pressed by federal education initiatives and encouraged by research on promising teacher evaluation practices, states and school districts have implemented evaluation systems using new measures of educator practice and student learning. A growing body of research has examined teacher evaluation policies and related impacts. Relatively less research focuses on the roles of principals, teachers, coaches, and peers. Wisconsin adopted a system for educator evaluation that includes common measures, similar training requirements, and an emphasis on educator growth and development. The evaluation of the Wisconsin Educator Effectiveness System has provided informative state, district and school reports on teacher and principal perceptions of the system. There is much to learn, however, about how schools are carrying out evaluation practices to support educator improvement. This report presents findings from the Learning-Centered Evaluation Study carried out during the 2017-2018 school year. We examine school-level educator effectiveness practices and outcomes within Wisconsin districts focusing evaluation efforts on educator improvement rather than accountability. The report provides background on the system development in Wisconsin, summarizes our study design, and presents findings on learning-centered practices and observations on how evaluation affects teaching. The report includes a policy response from the study sponsor and thoughts on future studies.

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keywords: Teacher evaluation, learning-centered evaluation, educator improvement, learning-centered practices, professional development, Wisconsin Educator Effectiveness System, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction