Now, ten years after Ohio legislature mandated the creation of the Educator Standards Board (ESB) and five years after it was charged with recommending a model evaluation system for teachers and principals, the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) is in full swing. Ohio educators have exited the first school year of full implementation of OTES and the first year where ratings must inform personnel decisions is about to begin.

Getting to this stage has taken longer than some may have expected; however, in 2011teacher evaluation requirements were defined through House Bill 153 and school districts were required to revise their evaluation system to align with the State Board-approved OTES framework by July 2013.

Although OTES is a new system, the General Assembly continues to make significant modifications. It is important to understand the system’s initial requirements before delving into recent changes. The 2011 evaluation requirements included:

  • Evaluations annually for teachers holding a teaching license and providing student instruction at least 50% of time employed (exception for accomplished teachers: every two years if adopted by the district board of education);
  • Evaluations to be used in district policies and procedures for teacher retention, promotion, removal, and reduction in force;
  • Alignment with standards for teachers, resulting in ratings: accomplished, proficient, developing, or ineffective;
  • Multiple evaluation factors (50% teacher performance; 50% student academic growth measures);
  • At least two formal observations of 30+ minutes and classroom walkthroughs;
  • Each teacher to be provided a written report of his/her evaluation results; and
  • Provisions for professional development and allocation of financial resources for professional development.

Changes were made via House Bill 555, which became effective as of March 2013. House Bill 555 further defined Student Growth Measures. It also phased in the use of value-added progress, which is a statistical method that compares student achievement data from one year to the next. Value added progress is used to estimate the academic growth of students and assess the impact of the instruction. As of July 2014, for teachers who instruct only subjects with value-added data available, that data will account for the teacher’s entire student growth component. For teachers who teach only some subjects where value-added data is available, this data will be used proportionately to the teacher’ overall schedule.

OTES was modified again in June 2014 with Ohio’s Mid-Biennium Review–specifically House Bill 362. These revisions provide districts with some flexibility in evaluation regularity and offer an alternate student growth framework option. While an observation and conference must still be completed each year by an evaluator, the frequency of full evaluation is extended for a teacher rated accomplished (every three years) or skilled (every two years).

Districts may choose this frequency as long as the teacher’s student academic growth measure for the most recent year is average or above. A district may also opt to not evaluate a teacher who was on leave for at least 50% of the year or whom has submitted notice of retirement by December 1. If a district would rather not use the 50/50 framework (50% teacher performance and 50% student growth measure), it may choose to use the following alternate framework for teacher evaluation:

2013-2014 school year

Starting 2014-2015 school year

42.5% teacher performance measure

42.5% to 50% teacher performance measure

42.5% student academic growth measure

42.5% to 50% student academic growth measure [% equal to teacher performance]

15% from one of these components: student surveys, teacher self-evaluations, peer review evaluations, or student portfolios

Remainder from one of these components: student surveys, teacher self-evaluations, peer review evaluations, or student portfolios

** if using this framework the new choice component must be one from the ODE-approved instruments list


Areas for School Districts to be Mindful

As implementation of OTES continues, districts should monitor any new modifications from the Ohio Department of Education and keep in mind potential legal concerns, such as:

  1. Are your evaluators’ other responsibilities still being met while managing evaluation time demands? If not, how can you plan to continue to meet all responsibilities or reallocate where necessary?
  2. Are you using linkage of Value-Added data appropriately for the student growth measure? Remember, this may be more complicated for some, such as intervention specialists.
  3. Does your collective bargaining agreement include appropriate provisions for OTES? OTES provisions will prevail over any conflicting provisions entered into after September 29, 2011.
  4. The recent Mid-Biennium Review provided that some consequences from teacher evaluations will be delayed a year because new assessments will be administered during the 2014-2015 school year.
  5. Continue to sort through any staff confusion or misunderstandings as well as provide appropriate professional development for teachers and evaluators.