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Teacher Evalutions Update
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Spring 2016 Update: Understanding Teacher Evaluations

By Margaret C. Elliott, PAGE Staff Attorney

The arrival of spring means it’s time once again for educator evaluations. The PAGE Legal Department receives many calls and emails about teacher evaluations; therefore, we are addressing some recent concerns in this article.

In February, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) sent an email to educators regarding evaluations. Many PAGE members called PAGE fearful that the GaPSC had singled them out due to ineffective job performance. We contacted the GaPSC, which reported to us that the email was sent to ALL certified educators to provide details about Georgia law and evaluations. As you know, several years ago the Georgia Department of Education developed the TKES and LKES evaluation program. All Georgia school systems and charter schools were required to implement TKES and LKES during the 2014-2015 school year.       

Georgia law requires that all summative assessments of “unsatisfactory,” “ineffective” and “needs development” be reported to GaPSC. Performance evaluations are consequential for educators’ continued certification and licensure. No educator who has received any combination of two unremediated “needs development,” “ineffective” or “unsatisfactory” annual summative performance evaluations in the previous five-year period is entitled to a renewable certificate. Loss of a certificate or license can render the educator unable to continue in a role that requires that credential.


Teacher observations, which consist of four 10-minute walkthroughs and two 30-minute formative observations, serve as the basis for the Teacher Assessment on Performance Standards (TAPS). The final part of the evaluation is known as the “summative assessment,” which occurs towards the end of the school year. Ten performance standards are rated. The overall rating or score is the sum of the 10 ratings. However, it can be confusing to determine the final score.  In order to do this, subtract one point from each individual rating on the summative assessment, and then add all 10 ratings. A total score of 0–6 is “ineffective;” a total score of 7–16 is “needs development;” a total score of 17–26 is “proficient;” and finally, a total score of 27–30 is “exemplary.”

A teacher may score as many as three ratings of “needs development” on the summative assessment, and as long as the other seven areas/performance standards are rated “proficient,” the overall score would be 17 or “proficient.” Finally, in grades 3-12, student surveys also factor into the evaluation.

The second part of the educator evaluation instrument is based on student growth, which is measured by SLOs (student learning objective tests) or by standardizes tests, also called state-assessed courses. For the state-assessed courses, the evaluator reviews the “student growth percentile” (SGP).   

SLO ratings are defined as follows:

  • Level I is less than 50 percent of students demonstrate expected or high growth (ineffective);

  • Level II is 50 percent or more demonstrate expected or high growth (needs development);

  • Level III is 80 percent or more of students demonstrate expected or high growth (proficient);

  • Level IV 90 percent or more of students demonstrate expected or high growth (exemplary) 

State Assessed Courses ratings are defined as follows:

  • Level I is mean (or average) growth percentile is less than 30 percent of students (ineffective);

  • Level II is mean (or average) growth percentile is 30 percent to 40 percent of students (needs development);

  • Level III is mean (or average) growth percentile is greater than 40 percent up to 65 percent of students (proficient);

  • Level IV is mean (or average) growth percentile is greater than 65 percent of students (exemplary)

Note that for the 2015-2016 school year, the GaPSC notified school systems to report only the Teacher Assessment Performance Standards that were “unsatisfactory” or “ineffective” or “needs development” and not the student growth portion.      

Educators must be aware that the General Assembly passed SB 364 this session that changes several key factors of teacher and leader evaluations. Unless Gov. Nathan Deal vetoes the legislation, beginning in the 2016-2017 school year the student growth percentile for teachers will be reduced from 50 percent to 30 percent and for leaders will be reduced from 70 percent to 40 percent. Additionally, a student must be in attendance for 90 percent of a teacher’s course rather than 65 percent for a student’s score to be counted toward the teacher’s or leader’s evaluation.  PAGE has lobbied long and hard to get this change made to the law.  Please continue to watch your PAGE listserve e-mail for news regarding SB 364 and whether the governor signs the bill into law. As always, if you have questions, please contact the PAGE legal department at 1-800-334-6861 or 770-216-8555.    



Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) 
P.O. Box 942270 | Atlanta, GA 31141-2270 
Phone: 770-216-8555 (Metro Atlanta) or 800-334-6861 


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