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District Performance Evaluation Systems

Message to Teachers from Commissioner Pam Stewart

Court-Ordered Release of Teacher Names and Value-Added Data

As many of you know, we at the Department of Education have been fighting for you and for all teachers in an effort to maintain the confidentiality of teachers' names and their individual value-added data.

We took on this fight because I believe the teacher-principal relationship for professional development is supported when evaluation information has a period of protection. Your work and dedication have helped to create a bright future for our state and our children, and I want to support that work in any way that I can.

Recently, the department - and our co-defendant, the Florida Education Association - lost a lawsuit filed by a news outlet to gain access to teachers' individual value-added data. This data is calculated on behalf of school districts to complete their teacher and principal evaluations.

Later today, the department is providing these data, as required by the First District Court of Appeals, to the media who have requested it. We expect this information will be posted online and individual teacher names and value-added data will be publicly available.

The department will not post this information on its website, but is presenting answers to frequently asked questions and other information to the public at www.fldoe.org/profdev/studentgrowth.asp.

As a former teacher, I know that teaching is hard work. And, I'm confident that teachers in Florida are among the nation's best in helping students succeed.

Growth in student achievement is an important part of an educator's evaluation in Florida, which is the way it should be. As important as growth in student achievement is, our evaluation systems also include evidence of other important and essential aspects of teaching.

Despite being compelled to release this information after mounting our best legal efforts to protect the confidentiality of teachers' information, we remain encouraged and feel that we have an opportunity in front of us.

We are encouraged because through this information, we can celebrate the achievement of Florida educators - the teachers who have led students to success in their classrooms, as well as the programs that trained those teachers, the school and district leaders who supported them, and the families and communities who trusted them.

We also feel we have an opportunity because when we look at the data, we can see where we should allocate our resources and attention to continue improving.

While releasing these data as a public record is not our chosen path to increase its usefulness, we will make this an opportunity to improve communication and understanding about what these data can - and cannot - tell us, and how they support better decision-making when analyzed in combination with other information about teaching and learning.

And, that is what we as professional educators are all about: improving teaching and learning. Until every teacher in every child's classroom in every school has all the support and expertise necessary to add maximum value over the course of a year, we cannot rest.

Our work together on this will not be slowed. We do this work with the support of Governor Scott, whose budget proposal includes a record amount for Florida's schools including over $8 million for the express purpose of providing the professional development school leaders need to improve student achievement. And, we do so with the support of our State Board of Education that is constantly focused on the best policies to help teachers and students succeed.

I look forward each day to our continued work to ensure Florida's students receive a high-quality education so they may succeed in college, career and life. Thanks again for all you do each and every day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Florida's Value-Added Models (VAM) Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) releasing individual VAM data to the press?

Due to a recent court ruling (PDF), the FDOE is required to release VAM data for teachers in the 2011-2012 and the 2012-13 school years in response to public records requests. In the past, the FDOE has released state, district and school-level data, but did not believe under the law that individual teacher VAM data used in current teacher evaluations should be made public. The Florida Education Association joined the FDOE in the legal effort to protect the exemption of individual teacher evaluation data. However, the ruling on November 12, 2013, makes it clear that individual teacher VAM data is not exempt from public record. The FDOE is providing these data to those requesting it, but is not posting individual teacher evaluation data on the FDOE website.

What are Florida's Value-Added Models (VAM)?

Value-added models in general are used to measure a specific impact or influence on a performance outcome. Value-added models are used often in the areas of health care, education and economics, for example.

In Florida, our value-added models are used to measure the contribution of a teacher or school on student learning. Our value-added models do this by measuring the difference in student performance on a statewide assessment from one year to the next, and then accounting for other factors that show impact on the learning process. The factors are specific student, classroom and school characteristics that are shown to impact student learning. Florida's value-added models for FCAT and Grade 9 Algebra I were developed and recommended by the Student Growth Implementation Committee and approved by the Commissioner of Education. For more information about the Student Growth Implementation Committee, please visit https://www.fldoe.org/committees/sg.asp. For information on the factors included in the model, please visit http://www.fldoe.org/committees/doc/Value-Added-Model-White-Paper.doc (Word, 841KB).

What does a VAM score mean?

The amount of the teacher's contribution to student learning is provided through a value-added score. Using the developmental scale of the assessment, the teacher's value-added score reflects the average amount of learning growth of the teacher's students above or below the expected learning growth of similar students in the state, using the factors accounted for in the model. For example, if a teacher's value-added score is 10, that means students taught by that teacher, on average, demonstrated learning growth of 10 points on the developmental scale higher than expected for similar students in the state. In this instance, "similar" means students that share the same student, classroom and school characteristics accounted for in the model. A score of 0 (zero) reflects average or typical performance.

Value-added models can produce results in addition to the VAM score, which a district may choose to use in its personnel evaluation system. A second result from the model is the "Aggregate VAM Score." Using the average yearly growth on FCAT by students statewide in each grade and subject, the Aggregate VAM Score displays the VAM score as a proportion of that average growth. Displaying a VAM result in this matter can provide context to the number, because it represents a percentage above or below the average student growth for the year. For teachers who teach more than one grade level or subject assessed by the FCAT, the Aggregate VAM Score also combines a teacher's results from grades and subjects taught. For example, an Aggregate VAM Score of +0.25 would mean that, on average, the teacher's students scored 25 percent above the state average growth for that grade and subject. Conversely, an Aggregate VAM Score of -.10 would mean that, on average, the teacher's students scored 10 percent below the state average growth for that grade and subject.

Lastly, there are two other results from the model that are requested and used in some school districts. There is the number and percent of students in each teacher's class who met or exceeded their expected score (in the example above, the red bar being higher than the green bar would yield a "yes, met or exceeded"). And, there is a VAM result provided for teachers of courses not primarily associated with FCAT and whose students took the FCAT that is based on the results of that teacher's students from the FCAT model.

Is the VAM score a teacher's entire evaluation?

No. Student performance data is one part of a multi-faceted teacher evaluation system. Florida school districts must consider multiple sources of data and include indicators of performance in instructional practice. For more information on all the components that are included in personnel evaluations, please visit http://www.fldoe.org/profdev/pdf/OverviewFloridasTeacherEvaluationSystem.pdf (PDF, 406KB).

Why do we have VAM?

Section 1012.34, F.S., requires that school districts implement personnel evaluations that are based on several criteria, one of which is the performance of each educator's students. The law places a premium on using learning growth, so that educators can be credited with improving student learning regardless of how much the student knows when he/she first enters a teacher's classroom. There are a number of ways to measure learning growth. The Student Growth Implementation Committee recommended and the Commissioner of Education approved using a value-added model (VAM) to measure learning growth for purposes of teacher evaluation, in part because of the model's capacity to reflect an individual educator's contribution to that learning growth. VAM results, along with the other components in districts' personnel evaluation systems, provide a tool for districts to more accurately evaluate teacher and principal performance.

Is VAM required to be used as a part of a teacher's evaluation?

Whether or not VAM is a required component of a specific teacher's evaluation depends on the courses taught by the teacher. Section 1012.34(7)(b), Florida Statutes, requires districts to measure student learning growth using the formula approved by the Commissioner for courses associated with the statewide assessments. The Commissioner has approved formulas for courses associated with FCAT 2.0 and grade 9 Algebra I. For courses not associated with statewide assessments, districts determine how their local assessment data is used for teacher evaluation purposes.

How many teachers will have VAM data?

Only some teachers will have VAM results. This is because the models adopted use data from FCAT and Grade 9 Algebra I statewide assessments. For teachers of courses other than those associated with FCAT and Grade 9 Algebra I, districts select other assessment data to include in evaluations. To view each district's teacher and principal evaluation systems, please visit http://www.fldoe.org/profdev/adpes.asp.

For specific questions about a particular district's evaluation system, please contact the school district directly.

Additional VAM information

Rule Development for District Performance Evaluation Systems

We welcome your comments regarding the revisions to Rule 6A-5.030 Instructional Personnel and School Administrator Evaluations and/or Rule 6A-5.0411 Calculations of Student Learning Growth Using Statewide Assessment Data for Use in School Personnel Evaluations.

Information and Resources

The following pages provide access to information and resources to support understanding of the paradigm shift in how evaluation systems are re-developed to support student learning and proficiency development for instructional personnel and school administrators.

Pursuant to Section 1012.34, Florida Statutes, the purpose of district evaluation systems is to increase student learning growth by improving the quality of instructional, administrative, and supervisory services in the public schools of the state. In support of this purpose:

  • A performance evaluation must be conducted for each instructional employee and school administrator at least once a year and twice a year for newly hired classroom teachers in their first year of teaching in the district.
  • District evaluation systems must be based upon sound educational principles and contemporary research in effective educational practices and must support continuous improvement of effective instruction and student learning growth.
  • Evaluation procedures for instructional personnel and school administrators shall be based on the performance of students assigned to their classrooms or schools, as appropriate. Student performance must be measured by the required state assessments as specified in Section 1008.22, Florida Statutes, and local assessments for subjects and grade levels not measured by the state.
  • View Overview of Florida's Teacher Evaluation System (PDF, 406KB)

The following information and resources are provided in support of district work on development and continuing improvement of evaluation systems: