Teacher evaluation is a fiction in the traditional teacher compensation system. Report after report shows that majority of teachers score proficient or excellent. Only extremely small percentages are rated unsatisfactory. Aside from the logical and intellectual errors evident in the system that treats teachers as children from Lake Wobegon, traditional evaluation is categorically unnecessary to determining rates of compensation. Since the system uses the accurately measurable factors of years of experience and amount of education, there is no need to rate a teacher's effectiveness or the contribution to the overall school strategic vision.
Strategic Teacher Compensation depends heavily on both program evaluation and individual professional evaluation. Because teacher value is aligned directly with explicit strateigic priorities, its evaluations of teacher contributions must be based around fulfillment of the startegy. Consequently, while standardized tests and other traditional academic instruments may be helpful, they are far from sufficient. Universal, summative assessments are not designed to measure a teacher's faithful implementation of a strategic plan. In fact, it is entirely conceivable that a teacher might reject and undermine a strategic plan in order to "teach to the test."
Test scores are an easily available objective measure. They have been the basis for many merit pay systems. However, there are many problems with the use of test scores in determining pay. Some subjects do not have traditional test data. A cohort of students can have a bad year. some schools have greater student mobility than others.
Given the low utility of any single standardized test, Strategic Teacher Compensation relies on a system of self, peer, student, and supervisor observation and evaluation. However, instead of looking for specific score levels or school-wide performance improvements, the evaluation process for Strategic Teacher Compensation is designed to answer a single question: "How well is this teacher representing and executing the strategic priorities of the school?"
The overemphasis on single test scores is wrong. There are situations where measuring and improving test scores may be a strategic priority for a school. In fact, in a very low performing school, it may be appropriate to have test scores as one measure of teacher success. Even in those cases, we recommend that a teacher be evaluated on that a teacher be evaluated on test scores over tme--based on student growth, not necessarily on absolute test scores.