Delaware’s Department of Education today released results from the administrator evaluation addendum to its “Continuous Improvement” report. The November report covered the results from “Year One” of the state’s revised evaluation system, the Delaware Performance Assessment System (DPAS-II).

 The report shows progress in the overall implementation of administrator evaluation with an increased focus on student achievement. In 2012-2013, student improvement was weighted more heavily in administrators’ overall ratings than in previous years. This revision highlighted the meaningful variation between various components of the system and reinforced that better implementation by school leaders is needed in the years ahead.

The state’s analysis found administrators received much higher ratings on student improvement measures when growth targets were set with evaluators than when the state-defined student growth targets were used. There was very little differentiation among administrators in the traditional appraisal components based upon observations.

“Our school administrators work hard every day, and they deserve an appraisal process that provides them with meaningful, thoughtful, and actionable feedback,” Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said. “This starts with the goals that they set in collaboration with one another and conversations around how measures of student achievement are comparable for teachers and principals.”

The report revealed that 8 percent of school and district administrators received “unsatisfactory” student improvement ratings (Component V), while overall, about 95 percent of administrators earned “effective” or “highly effective” ratings on their overall evaluations in the first year of the state’s revised appraisal system.

Administrators who used two measures of student growth (about two-thirds of administrators) earned higher ratings than those who used only the state-defined measure. Of the administrators who chose just the state measure, 20 percent earned “exceeds” ratings, 59 percent earned “satisfactory” and 16 percent earned “unsatisfactory.” For those who used both, 51 percent earned “exceeds,” 44 percent “satisfactory” and 4 percent “unsatisfactory.”  Evaluators have final authority to determine which measures are selected and where targets are set.

On average, administrators received higher scores on the measure determined with their evaluators (Part B) than the state measure (Part A). For administrators with both scores, the average Part A score was 33 out of 50 as compared to 44 out of 50 for Part B.

There was wide variation across Delaware districts. Administrators earned an average of 36 out of 50 on Part B in Indian River and an average of 50 out of 50 in Smyrna. Indian River School District was the only school district in which the Part B average was lower than the Part A average.  A school district that serves a large percentage of students from low-income communities, IRSD continues to be one of the highest-performing districts in the state.  Two years ago, Superintendent Dr. Susan Bunting was named as a finalist for National Superintendent of the Year.

With the input of hundreds of teachers and school and district leaders, DDOE spent the past three years revising the educator evaluation system. During the 2012-13 school year, each educator and administrator was evaluated through the revised system, which included multiple measures of student growth. District and school leaders had the option of basing their student improvement rating on only Part A (which uses state-defined growth targets for each student on the state test) or both Part A and B (where growth targets are set by the administrator and his or her evaluator using other measures of student performance).

The report also shows there was very little difference in administrator performance on the traditional administrator appraisal components:  vision and goals, culture of learning, management, and professional responsibilities.  Ninety-seven percent of evaluated administrators received “satisfactory” ratings on all four qualitative components.

“In the 2012-13 review, the ratings of administrators of the districts contained in the report were consistently good throughout the state,” said Scott Reihm, Delaware Association of School Administrators’ executive director. “While this is the first review containing the student performance component, administrators are committed to continuous improvement in the evaluation system.  The process for improving the system is quite a challenge and often frustrating.”

A note on how the DPAS-II for Administrators system works:  DPAS-II for Administrators has five appraisal components.  Components I through IV are vision and goals, culture of learning, management, and professional responsibilities.  Component V is student improvement.

Ratings for Components I – IV are determined through observations and conferences with an evaluator.  Administrators are evaluated as “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” in each of the first four components.  Ratings for Component V are determined through multiple measures of student growth (Part A only or Part A and B).  An administrator and his or her evaluator has the ability to choose whether to be evaluated solely on the Part A score, or a combination of Part A and Part B scores where each comprises 50 percent of the Component V overall score (with a maximum of 100 points). Component V is calculated by adding a Part A score to the Part B score if an administrator opted to use both measures. A Part B score will range 0 to 50, and a Part A score is equal to half of the percentage of students on the administrator’s roster meeting their growth targets, unless Part A is being taken alone (in which case it comprises 100 percent). A Component V score of 80 or above is considered “exceeds,” between 60 to 79 points is considered “satisfactory” and below 60 points is “unsatisfactory.”

The five components in DPAS-II combine to create each administrator’s overall rating, in line with the following principles: (1) an educator cannot earn a summative rating of “effective” if he or she has an “unsatisfactory” rating in Component V and (2) an educator cannot be rated “ineffective” if his or her Component V rating is “satisfactory.”