Through a multi-year partnership with the Virginia Department of Education, Dr. James Stronge, Heritage Professor in the EPPL General Administration emphasis, and a team of research partners are assisting with the development, training, and implementation of a state-wide teacher evaluation program for Virginia's public schools.
Starting in 2010, the W&M research team revised existing documents and developed new guidelines to support teacher evaluation across Virginia, including the Teacher Uniform Performance Standards and the Guidelines for Evaluation Criteria for Teachers. The documents were adopted by the Virginia State Board of Education in March of 2011, and will be implemented in Virginia's school divisions, effective July 1, 2012.
Under a new contract, selected schools and, where appropriate, their school divisions, will comprehensively restructure their evaluation instruments, procedures, and methods. The purposes of this teacher evaluation pilot program are threefold:
to improve the effectiveness the teacher performance evaluation instruments and procedures, specifically to include measures of student performance as part of the evaluation process;
to apply performance evaluation in meaningful ways to support and improve the performance of the teachers; and
to develop a pilot program for a new performance pay method for teachers.
The pilot program will require a commitment of two plus years, beginning with the current year and continuing through 2013. The program will involve three major phases:
Phase 1: Teacher Evaluation Training and Piloting
Phase 2: Principal Evaluation Prototype Development, Training, and Piloting
Phase 3: Implementing Teacher Pay for Performance
The W&M team will provide ongoing support throughout pilot years for pilot schools and school divisions as they implement the new teacher evaluation program. Data collection and review of the pilot year results will guide the refinement of teacher evaluation standards and procedures for Virginia schools.
In addition to Dr. Stronge, Drs. Leslie Grant, Patricia Popp, Virginia Tonneson, and Xianxuan Xu are collaborating on the project. Dr. Tom Ward, Associate Dean in the School of Education, will begin working on the project in 2012 to help design and calibrate the performance pay methods and decision rules. Total funding for the Virginia Teacher Evaluation School Improvement Grant project is $971,580 through a contract with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).
On a related project, the same W&M team is developing teacher evaluation training materials associated with the new Virginia State Board of Education policy regarding performance-based teacher evaluation. A draft of the training materials was delivered for review by the VDOE. When completed this summer, the teacher evaluation training manual will comprise more than 600 pages and will be available to all Virginia school divisions as both a single document and downloadable components. The contract for this project is $149,789.
A third contract with VDOE will expand the implementation of teacher evaluation training provided under the above projects to include those schools selected to participate in the Virginia Hard-to-Staff Teacher Performance Pay program. Governor Bob McDonnell supported a bill enacted by the General Assembly to provide $3 Million for an experimental teacher performance pay program beginning in the 2011-12 school year. Evaluation training for administrators from schools selected for the program will occur in late July and early August, and will be conducted in W&M's School of Education. The contract for this project is $56,000.