March 31, 2014 Members of the Delaware General Assembly Legislative Hall 411 Legislative Avenue Dover, DE 19901 Dear

Members of the Delaware General Assembly, On March 15, 2104, delegates to the DSEA Representative Assembly passed a New Business Item calling for a “moratorium on Component V as tied to evaluations of all educational professionals in the State of Delaware until such time as a fair, valid, and reliable method of evaluating student growth in each of the educationally-related fields can be determined by the experts in these fields.” This letter will provide the context that led to this action taken by the DSEA Representative Assembly and to request your support to ensure that we have an evaluation system where educators: • • • can be responsibly evaluated, can be held accountable for what they directly influence, and can continue to provide students with the skills and knowledge need to be successful in life.

Delaware has had a statewide evaluation system since the 1980s. DPAS II was implemented statewide in 2008 after having been piloted in several districts. By all accounts, it was a highly-regarded evaluation framework that included an innovative and potentially powerful version of the student improvement component – a goal-setting process that many educators found to be extremely productive. Quite simply put, educators had a lot of confidence in the DPAS II system. Unfortunately, challenges with the implementation of changes enacted to support Delaware’s application for Race to the Top funds have resulted in the loss of confidence in and trust of the system. The Year Six Survey on DPAS II released by the Delaware Department of Education in June, 2013 showed that 86% of teachers, 87% of specialists, and 96% of administrators believed that the evaluation system, specifically Component V, must change if it is to be truly effective as an evaluative tool. This fact is even more alarming when you consider that DDOE's "Year One" report on Component V, released late last year, found 99% of educators to be effective or highly-effective. These numbers beg the question: Why would educators want to change a system that tells them they a doing a good job? The answer is quite simple - because they realize the system fails to responsibly evaluate them, it fails to hold them accountable for what they directly influence and, most importantly, it fails to support them in providing all students with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in life. There are several specific issues which we believe have contributed significantly to the loss of confidence in the current system. First, there are continuing questions regarding the fairness, validity, and reliability of assessments and the manner in which they are used to evaluate educator performance. Second, there is a lack of consistent training to establish a foundational understanding of the system for both evaluators and evaluatees. A noted strength of DPAS II was the mandatory training it provided prior to the initiation of the evaluation process. Third, the system lacks a process for calibrating evaluators to ensure inter-rater reliability, in other words, ensuring
DELAWARE STATE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION Headquarters | 136 East Water Street | Dover, Delaware 19901 | P • 302.734.5834 | F • 674.8499 | TF • 866.734.5834 Branch Office | 4135 Ogletown-Stanton Road | Suite 101 | Newark, Delaware 19713 | P • 302.366.8440 | F • 302.366.0287 www.dsea.org
Frederika Jenner
President

Karen Crouse
Vice President

Dom Zaffora
Treasurer

Mike Hoffmann
NEA Director

Jeff Taschner
Executive Director

evaluations are done accurately and with consistency across the State. Finally, the manner in which DPAS II-R has been reviewed and revised has not been responsive to the recommendations and advice of relevant stakeholders. For these reasons, DSEA cannot support the manner in which the current system, DPAS II-R, uses student test scores in teacher evaluations. However, as noted in the New Business Item, we do continue to support evaluation based upon student growth, but only if based upon fair, valid and reliable measures in each educationally related field. Our evaluation system and the decisions which it informs are far too important for us to allow current problems to go unresolved. I ask you to support DSEA ‘s request for a return to an evaluation system whose primary purpose is to improve the skills and abilities of the educators it evaluates and, thereby, the achievement of the students they educate. Sincerely,

Frederika Jenner, President

DELAWARE STATE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION Headquarters | 136 East Water Street | Dover, Delaware 19901 | P • 302.734.5834 | F • 674.8499 | TF • 866.734.5834 Branch Office | 4135 Ogletown-Stanton Road | Suite 101 | Newark, Delaware 19713 | P • 302.366.8440 | F • 302.366.0287 www.dsea.org
Frederika Jenner
President

Karen Crouse
Vice President

Dom Zaffora
Treasurer

Mike Hoffmann
NEA Director

Jeff Taschner
Executive Director

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