DCPS Educators –
Performance evaluation is not going away, nor should it. But the primary goal of any evaluation system must be the continuous improvement of learning, both for the students and the teachers. But more than that, it must provide the supports that make continuous learning a reality.
In the District of Columbia, the IMPACT teacher evaluation system has failed. Ten years after IMPACT’s implementation:
- The District’s achievement gaps have grown significantly since the implementation of the IMPACT teacher evaluation system. And although overall student performance has improved in the District of Columbia, improvement is overwhelmingly found in the schools that were already doing well. In other words, IMPACT is correlated to the high gaps in student achievement.
- There is universal agreement that teacher turnover in DC is too high. The number one reason most teachers leave the District is IMPACT. IMPACT is the number one hurdle in the way of student achievement growth in DC schools.
IMPACT is deeply flawed and no matter how many well-paid experts are brought in to defend IMPACT, the fundamental flaws within IMPACT will remain. Instead sharing data and working in partnership to improve instruction in every classroom, DCPS refuses to collaborate.
We need an evaluation system that is first and foremost about improvement. That may sound easy, but after more than a decade of IMPACT—it is revolutionary. Just as DCPS tells you to move forward and let go of the old ways of doing things, they must also reject the thinking of the past. And now is the time for DCPS to move past IMPACT.
Sign our Petition. Require DCPS to release the American University evaluation of IMPACT.
In January 2020, DCPS and American University announced that the University would perform an “evidence-based, independent and objective analysis” of the IMPACT performance evaluation system (see https://www.american.edu/media/news/20200124-soe-dcps-impact.cfm). According to the University, it planned to conduct “qualitative interviews of about 30 to 50 randomly selected teachers.” The University also noted that “DCPS has begun gathering information for the review,” including through a survey conducted in Fall 2019 and another planned for Spring 2020.
In March 2021, WTU President Elizabeth Davis wrote to DCPS Deputy Chief Christopher Lewis and requested that DCPS share the initial findings of the review. In response, Mr. Lewis indicated that the University had completed initial teacher interviews and disclosed certain “trends” and “early findings” to DCPS. Mr. Lewis also stated that DCPS possessed “early findings from surveys to both teachers and school leaders.”
The WTU believes that it’s important for DCPS to share any and all information regarding the IMPACT review, including any underlying data. If we are to improve teacher evaluation and better serve our students, we must know the facts.
Chancellor Ferebee –
I respectfully ask that DCPS releases all information on the contract and findings related to the “evidence-based, independent and objective analysis” conducted by American University’s School of Education for District of Columbia Public Schools as the school district conducts a comprehensive review of IMPACT.
Evaluation is not going away, but it must change in a way that will truly help students. Research and experience tells us that systems based on punitive thinking fail to improve performance. The current IMPACT system is subjective and unnecessarily punitive, contributing to the District’s high rates of teacher turnover and growing achievement gaps. As we move forward, the city’s evaluation system for our educators should emphasize identifying educator’s needs and provide opportunities for educators to grow in their profession.
We hope DC Public Schools will work with educators to ensure educators are evaluated in a fair and equitable manner and provide support and guidance that leads to student growth.
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