The way Idaho audits teacher evaluation will get a makeover later this year, just weeks after the State Department of Education produced an audit that many educators said was faulty and misleading.
How and how well Idaho schools evaluate teachers is a critical issue as the state implements a new career and pay plan that boosts teacher salaries based on how well they perform in the classroom. Some $58 million is expected to be before the Idaho Legislature this session as part of a four-year multi-million dollar plan aimed at boosting pay to recruit and retain good teachers.
Idaho’s new way to audit teacher evaluations will include Idaho school administrators and the state’s four-year colleges and universities, say State Board of Education officials, who were directed by lawmakers in 2016 to take over the audit function beginning in 2017. State Board officials were working on their audit plan since before questions were raised about the State Department’s audit.
The State Board this week spelled out a two-phase process that will first determine how districts’ teacher evaluations line up with state policy, and then look at the actual evaluations for a sampling of teachers.
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State Board officials announced their plan just weeks after the State Department of Education was sharply criticized for an audit of teacher evaluations that showed 99 percent of evaluations sampled were not completed correctly.
The study was conducted by McRel International, a Denver company.
School districts complained the audit conducted for the State Department of Education was done in the 2014-2015 school year, before the state’s new teacher pay plan took effect and without following guidelines in state law and administrative rules.
“The (audit) process conducted by the State Board will be completely new and separate from the (audit) of 2014-2015 teacher evaluations conducted by the State Department of Education and McRel International,” the State Board said in a statement Wednesday.
Evaluations will play a key role beginning in 2018 in the Legislature’s plan to increase salaries for teachers based on individual performance. But many educators worry the previous audit could shake lawmakers’ confidence in those evaluations and, possibly, in the larger pay plan.
Lawmakers turned the job of evaluating teacher job reviews over to the State Board of Education before the flap about the audit flared in December, intending to give Idaho colleges and universities a greater role in helping schools improve teaching and get the most out of evaluations.