More Errors Uncovered in Idaho State’s Flawed Teacher Evaluation Report

Via Idaho Ed News

Administrators from three additional school districts have confirmed errors in a state report on teacher evaluation data released last week by the State Department of Education.

The report details evaluations data for more than 17,000 teachers in all 115 school districts and charter schools. It showed that administrators reported more than 91 percent of all teachers earned high marks on their evaluations from the 2015-16 school year.

The errors discovered this week were made for a variety of reasons. Administrators raised deadline issues; said they incorrectly filled out forms; and district leaders admitted the numbers they reported were incorrect.

Idaho Education News contacted leaders of nine school districts since the report was released Thursday. Administrators in seven districts confirmed errors or omissions.

The nature and frequency of the errors means the statewide data is worthless for differentiating between high-performing and lower-performing teachers in Idaho.

Teacher evaluations are increasingly important, because the 2015 Legislature partially tied hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayers’ money to teacher evaluations through the career ladder salary law.

State Department of Education spokesman Jeff Church said this year’s evaluation data won’t be used to direct the flow of state money into teacher pay. But next year, Church said, evaluations will be a factor in educators’ ability to earn higher pay.

If state education leaders had used the data released Thursday to determine salary funding levels, the errors likely would have resulted in thousands of dollars in taxpayers’ money being misspent.