The Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE), representing all boards of education across the state, joined with other education organizations in pledging to further strengthen education evaluations.
MABE, the Maryland State Board of Education (MSBE), Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), Maryland State Educators Association (MSEA), Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland (PSSAM), Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP), Maryland Association of Elementary School Principals (MAESP), and the Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU) signed the new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the state board meeting on June 27 in Baltimore.
Those groups pledged to coordinate resources and strategies in the development of rigorous and measurable Student Learning Objectives (SLOs). SLOs are measurable instructional goals established for a specific group of students over a set period of time. These SLOs, developed jointly by teachers and principals, are a key factor in Maryland’s new teacher-principal evaluation system. As stated by the MOU, the parties shall work towards establishing a network for collaborating, monitoring, and analyzing the progress of the local school systems in the development of SLOs.
MABE President Kathryn B. Groth stated, “This agreement commits all parties to collaborate in improving student academic success by measuring student outcomes and holding educators accountable based on student learning objectives (SLOs). We are pleased because this agreement is consistent with our longstanding support for local flexibility in developing rigorous evaluation systems that incorporate student growth in learning as a significant component of the overall evaluation system.”
“The State will continue to support educators in partnership with all school systems as they develop a fair and equitable process for gauging learning and improving instruction. Every child deserves a great education,” said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery.
Under the MOU, the partners agree to:
• focus on continuing professional development for teachers in developing rigorous SLOs;
• identify and development a diverse group of leaders to develop professional development on the SLO process;
• establish a network for collaboration on SLO development;
• initiate a study of the SLO process to be completed by August 2016.
Maryland piloted evaluation systems in seven districts during the 2011-12 school year, and evaluation systems were field tested in 22 districts during the 2012-13 school year. In 2013-14, all school systems implemented new Teacher-Principal Evaluation Systems. Those systems include both professional practice measures and student growth measures.
MSDE continues to seek flexibility from the federal government about using State assessment data for evaluations. Maryland is seeking an ESEA waiver from federal officials to hold teachers and principals harmless during the recently completed school year (2013-14) with the final administration of the Maryland School Assessment (MSA), while teaching new standards and field testing new online state assessments. MSDE also requested flexibility for a fair and thoughtful three-year roll out of the new teachers and principal evaluations in coordination with the State’s new college and career-ready standards and assessments.
MSDE has proposed to the U.S. Department of Education that school year 2014-15 be used to establish a baseline for student achievement without using state assessment scores in personnel decision during the first two years of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) Assessments, which replace the MSA. Data from the second PARCC test administration in school year 2015-16 would not be available until the summer. New student achievement data could be used to measure growth and in making personnel decisions for the first time during the 2016-17 school year.