You are here

Teach Plus New Mexico Recommends Commonsense Improvements to the State’s Teacher Evaluation System

January 25, 2019

Key recommendations include lowering the portion of student achievement in evaluation to 25 percent; bringing in additional evaluators, including teachers.

ALBUQUERQUE, NM– Today, Teach Plus New Mexico Teaching Policy Fellows released a new education policy report, Improving New Mexico’s Evaluation System to Meet the Needs of Educators.  In order to gauge what teachers find are the strengths and weaknesses of NMTEACH, the state’s current teacher evaluation system, and what they would like to see done better, the Fellows surveyed over 1,300 current teachers across New Mexico.  The report presents findings from the survey, themes from the respondents’ feedback, and teacher-driven recommendations for policymakers on how to enhance the accountability system.

“Educators must be held accountable for their effectiveness in their classroom, but they must also be supported to continue to develop into master teachers,” said Hope Morales, State Director of Teach Plus New Mexico. “Our report underscores that a robust, teacher-supported evaluation system in our state should be balanced among multiple measures of competencies, including annual measurement of students’ learning and differentiated support for teachers.” 

Findings:

  1. Teachers believe that the current evaluation system is designed to measure their effectiveness but would like the evaluation system to both measure effectiveness and serve as a tool to support their development.
  2. A majority of teachers support the use of student achievement in evaluations, but at a lower rate than the current 35 percent.
  3. Most teachers do not believe their school does a good job of using data from their teacher evaluations to provide support that strengthens their teaching.
  4. Teachers are divided on whether or not their current observers have the expertise to conduct the formal observations, and on whom they consider to be the most qualified observers.

Recommendations:

  1. Lower the portion of a teacher’s evaluation based on growth in student achievement related to state assessments to 25 percent.  Introduce the use of various local assessments to measure student learning at an additional 10 percent. 
  2. Bring in additional evaluators, including other teachers, to increase the number of required walkthroughs and informal observations.
  3. Eliminate deductions for the teacher absences component and create an opportunity for bonus points to be earned for high teacher attendance.
  4. Require districts to utilize data from the most current teacher evaluations to provide differentiated teacher support through targeted high-quality professional development, additional classroom resources, and team teaching/observations.

Teach Plus teachers are supportive of the report’s recommendations and updates to NMTEACH.  Ruth Gallegos, Teach Plus Policy Fellowship alumna and 6th grade teacher at Kirkland Elementary School, said: “As teachers, we are often observed and evaluated by one administrator who has been in our classroom only one or two times a year during a formal observation.  A more comprehensive look at our teaching would involve multiple professionals visiting our classrooms often in order to have a complete view of our teaching.” 

Darlene Fortier, Teach Plus Policy Fellowship alumna and 1st grade teacher at Cochiti Elementary School, Darlene Fortier, said:  “As a professional, I would certainly appreciate professional development that is tailored to my needs, including using the most recent evaluation data to provide me with opportunities for growth.”

About Teach Plus
The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success.  Since 2009, Teach Plus has trained thousands of teacher leaders across the country who are driving policy changes and improving the instructional practices of teachers to create an education system driven by equity, access, and excellence for all students.  teachplus.org