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Mapping New Terrain in
Educator Evaluation
Making Meaningful Use of New Teacher
Evaluation Data 
picture of principal and  teacher
Changes in federal policy have sparked a change in focus from teacher qualifications to teacher effectiveness. To respond to this change, states and districts have developed new systems for teacher evaluation comprised of multiple measures. REL West has just released a resource that school and district leaders can use to help consider various approaches.
The two-page logic model looks at the benefits and challenges of different tools of measurement — observation, measures derived from student test results, and student and parent survey ratings — and raises important considerations regarding the collection and use of data. It also provides a rich collection of related resources.
This logic model is the latest release from REL West’s Educator Effectiveness Alliance and was previewed at a recent event attended by state education agency staff, teacher union representatives, district administrators, research staff, and policymakers from Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. 


Related Resources

Photo of Reino Makkonen“Implementation of Educator Evaluation Systems: Examining Problems of Practice”
October 2014
This Bridge Event was co-hosted by REL Northeast and Islands and the National Center for Teacher Effectiveness. Among the presenters were Reino Makkonen, leader of the REL West Educator Effectiveness Alliance, and Ben Hayes, Chief Accountability Officer for Washoe County School District and core member of the REL West Nevada Education Research Alliance. Agenda, presentations, and a short overview video are available online.

“Alliance Helps States Map New Terrain in
Educator Evaluation”

December 2014
This REL West Research Digest features work that REL West is doing in partnership with the West Comprehensive Center to provide data analysis and technical assistance services on leadership, instruction, evaluation, and assessment. 

"Lead the Change, Unleash the Greatness"
July 2015 
Check out scheduled presentations by REL West researchers at this upcoming conference for Arizona school and district leaders. READ MORE>>
Using Data to Improve School Climate
New Research Digest features the Middle Grades School Climate Alliance 
photo of middle school students
A growing body of research shows that positive school climate is a key lever for students’ academic and social development and success. This research digest, released in April, shows how an alliance of California schools and districts, school climate experts, and state education agency personnel have teamed up to use school climate data to drive a continuous cycle of assessing needs, implementing improvement projects, and monitoring progress.
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Doing What Works in Action

This March webinar looked at the Doing What Works Library, which provides easily accessible and organized videos and tools that support the research-based recommendations in IES practice guides. WestEd's Nikola Filby and Gregory Keith of the Minnesota Department of Education examine theses resources and how they are used by state department staff. 

Research-Proven Strategies for Teaching Math
to Young Children

photo of cover to Teaching Math to Young Children guideThis webinar, also held in March, gave an overview of the Teaching Math to Young Children practice guide, published by the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education. Nancy Jordan, Professor of Education at the University of Delaware who helped develop the guide, gave an in-depth examination of the guide's recommendations and implications for practice. Her presentation included practical tips for teachers and parents of young children. For example, noting that it can be confusing for young children to start a number line with 0, Jordan recommends starting with 1, which, she says, "can help children compare quantities [and] allows them to see that each number is exactly one more than the next one, and it helps children think about lesser and greater cardinal values on the list."



Alliance News
Featured updates from our regional, state, and district research alliances

Community College Alliance on Career and
Technical Education

On April 23 and 24, 2015, roughly 150 California community college counselors and administrators came together to learn about counseling approaches to support students' education planning. The one-day sessions — held in Northern and Southern California — began with a presentation on relevant research findings and an explanation of the importance of gathering and analyzing data that measures program effectiveness. 

Educator Effectiveness Alliance

With the Arizona State Board of Education set to reexamine the state's teacher evaluation regulations (adopted in 2011) later this year, REL West continues to help the Arizona Department of Education examine multiple aspects of the issue — building from two studies of 2012/13 pilot implementation to a study of the initial pilot rollout of student learning objectives in 2013/14 (forthcoming) and a study now underway describing the ways in which teacher evaluation data are being used in 2014/15 across a set of five volunteering Arizona districts. The two published studies, released in December 2014, are Properties of the Multiple Measures in Arizona's Teacher Evaluation Model and Principal and Teacher Perceptions of Implementation of Multiple-Measure Teacher Evaluation Systems in Arizona.

Dropout Prevention Alliance for Utah Students with Disabilities

On April 3, 2015, more than 125 educators and mental health professionals from across Utah came together to learn about the neurobiology of trauma and how traumatic stress and trauma-sensitive school practices affect student learning and behavior. The one-day event held in Salt Lake City, Utah, presented research, practice, and resources to help strengthen interventions for students at risk of school failure.

Nevada Education Research Alliance

On June 1, in collaboration with the Washoe County School District in Nevada, the alliance hosted a one-day session for roughly 250 high school students, educators, and school and community leaders. The participatory event was designed to demonstrate and strengthen the use of student voice in district schools to improve student outcomes.


Nikola Filby

Shifts in the education policy landscape in recent years have driven state education agencies (SEAs) to rethink the ways in which they measure and support teaching quality. In the western states region that REL West serves (Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah), we’ve seen an especially strong focus on educator evaluation systems. It's exciting to see the evolution. While early work focused on measurement instruments and metrics, educators have now begun to turn to the deeper work of how these systems are used to guide improvement. REL West has played a central role in providing research and analytic support to these SEAs, with the shared goal of improving practice and outcomes for students. Several items in this newsletter give details.

The first entry discusses a teacher evaluation resource that our partners have found useful. Check it out! Keep reading for related resources, including a link to a national convening on educator evaluation systems that has a rich collection of materials showing what states are doing. We’ve also got news on what a few of our eight research alliances are doing, with some useful resources for adminstrators, educators, and parents.

As the school year comes to a close, we want to express our appreciation to all the educators who have worked with us to understand their data, generate ideas about why the data look the way they do, identify strategies for improvement, and try them out. May the summer be a time for reflection and rejuvenation. We look forward to next steps in the fall.

Featured updates from our regional, state, and district research alliances

REL Central
May 2015
Instructional Improvement Cycle: A Teacher’s Toolkit for Collecting and Analyzing Data on Instructional Strategies (Publication)


REL Southwest
April 2015
Implementing a Data Literate Culture at the School and Teacher Levels Part II (Event)


REL Midwest
May 2015
Preparing Students to Succeed in College and Careers (Event)

May 2015
Public School Safety and Discipline: 2013–14 (Publication)
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