A program evaluation of the new Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) teacher evaluation system in New York
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Policy makers and educators across the nation are incorporating new standards and assessments into evaluation systems, designed to impact teacher effectiveness and student achievement. New York is one of the states that have developed a teacher evaluation system, now fully implemented in all of its 697 public school districts. As the results from these new systems are used for high stakes results, it is extremely important that these systems have established "new teacher evaluation systems around sets of criteria that had been reasonably well linked to student outcomes" (Ellett and Teddlie, 2003, p. 106; Brophy and Good, 1986; Gage & Needels, 1989). This study applied a descriptive program evaluation research design to examine how closely the system approximated the Joint Committee of Program Evaluation standards and also examined the student performance data in the sample districts. The sample of the study was State of New York and eight public school districts that were awarded a 1003(g) School Improvement Grant (SIG) during the 2011-12 school year that submitted an approved APPR document. The study utilized Stufflebeam's (1999) checklist to analyze the evaluation standards reflected in the state and districts' evaluation plans as a framework for providing formative data for the formation of evaluative conclusions about the system. The study used multiple data collection techniques including document analysis of the state and districts' evaluation documents, student achievement data for the elementary-middle and high school levels, and comparative quantitative data. Results indicated that the state's evaluation system was aligned with the Joint Committee Standards in the area of Utility only. The document analysis portion of the study revealed that structural weaknesses contributed to the state's system effectiveness in year 1, impacting human resources, political, and symbolic aspects. In the SIG districts, plans were more aligned with the standards by the second year of the system, with all of the plans aligned in the area of Utility and Feasibility by 2012-13. Finally, student performance data at grades 3-8 and 9-12 in English Language Arts and mathematics showed no increase in SIG versus control schools after a year of the evaluation system in place, except in the area of secondary mathematics.