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Mississippi Department of Education Testing Teacher Evaluation System

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 18 Jan 2012 07:00pm | comments
Jones County Superintendent Tommy Parker

Mississippi is one step closer to implementing a statewide system for grading teachers. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that the state is trying to identify which teachers are performing well, and which are not.

The current evaluation system for teachers varies by district with no state standard.

Dr. Daphne Buckley with the Mississippi Department of Education says pilot programs are underway in seven counties to test a potential evaluation standard for the state.

"The goal is to ensure that teachers reflect on their practice and to help teachers to improve their practice in the classroom. And the ultimate goal is to increase student achievement," Buckley said.

Teachers will likely be graded in five areas such as learning environment, instruction and planning.

They will be scored on a four point scale, with a one being unsatisfactory and a four being distinguished.

One of the schools that is part of the pilot program is North Jones Elementary in Jones County.

District Superintendent Tommy Parker says having a consistent evaluation standard can help determine which teachers are improving their student's results and which are not.

"Level one teachers or maybe some of those that score at the level one. May be some of those that need to be redirected to another profession," Parker said.

Parker says knowing where a teacher is weak also helps maximize training opportunities, and thinks high scoring teachers could be rewarded with incentives like additional pay or attending more conferences and workshops.

Evaluation systems frequently cause concern with teachers groups who raise questions about how the rating will be applied..

Kevin Gilbert with the Mississippi Association of Educators says their organization is working with the MDE to craft a system that they consider clear, fair, and consistent.

"As educators we are not fearful of accountability but we want to make sure that we are involved in discussions, that we help develop the program and that whatever is used out there is going to be able to benefit and not hurt the education profession," Gilbert said.

The department of education intends to have the evaluation system ready for statewide implementation by the 2014-2015 school year.

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Jones County Superintendent Tommy Parker


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