NEW ORLEANS — Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
Last year, the figure was 89 percent.
The latest figures were released Wednesday by the state Department of Education.
The new system, known as Compass, does not yet require that improvement in student achievement be part of a teacher's evaluation. That factor is being delayed as the state phases in tougher Common Core standards. Meanwhile, teachers are rated to a large extent on subjective classroom observations by principals, along with local student achievement goals.
In a telephone news conference Wednesday, state Education Superintendent John White said he is concerned about the way districts vary in the stringency of evaluations of teachers and principals.
"There are 1,400 schools," White told reporters, according to The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1rhuDMD). "This system is playing out in 1,400 different ways."
The department said in a news release that the best-performing school districts appear to make it more difficult for teachers to earn a "highly effective" rating. Districts that did the best at boosting student achievement often had a lower number of teachers rated "highly effective" than the state average.
"There is a clear connection between schools and school districts making significant academic gains and the practice of setting a high bar for teacher excellence in classroom observation. Statewide, 38 percent of teachers received "highly effective" observation ratings. The districts that achieved the most progress with students, however, generally reserved the "highly effective" designation for only for the most exceptional observed teaching," the report said.
For example, eight of the top 10 districts increasing the percentage of students achieving Basic scores or above had fewer teachers rated "highly effective" than the state average of 38 percent. And 19 of the top 25 such districts had a lower percentage of teachers graded "highly effective" than the state average.
The department outlined several steps planned to improve the evaluation and teacher improvement process, including working with a special state education commission to come up with recommendations for future use of student achievement gains in evaluations.
"This year's report highlights schools and districts where high expectations are really working. It also shows areas in which expectations are lax, and that has to change if we are going to meet the new expectations our state has for student learning," White said in a prepared statement.
The Louisiana Department of Education's 2014 Compass report:
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