For Immediate Release
IMPACT Survey Results and Comments on Today's Teacher Terminations
WASHINGTON - The Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) today released the results of an membership survey on IMPACT, DC Public Schools‘ (DCPS) new system for assessing the performance of teachers. Close to 1,000 members participated in this survey that was conducted among WTU members to assess the implementation of this evaluation instrument in DCPS.
Findings from the survey clearly show that a large majority of teachers believe that IMPACT is not a fair evaluation system and offers them very little support. In addition, respondents overwhelmingly indicated that the new Teaching and Learning Framework was not ready for full implementation and teacher training around this new framework was incomplete and insufficient.
Under IMPACT, 50% of a teacher's evaluation score is based on student achievement for all teachers who are in testing grades and testing subjects and another 5% of the evaluation is based on school wide performance, placing significant value on items for which teachers have no control.
Some of the survey questions consisted of: 1) Has your principal provided you with the additional support in the modules for which you received a less than average rating? 2) Do you understand the "Value Added" Model DCPS is using to determine the amount of student growth for which you are being held accountable? 3) Have you received sufficient training on the TEACH modules? and 4) Do you think that IMPACT should have been independently evaluated prior to implementation?
While the WTU cannot negotiate the teacher evaluation instrument due to congressional legislation, it has always expressed great concern that DCPS decided to implement the new teaching and learning framework and new teacher evaluation system at the same time; thereby, not allowing teachers adequate opportunity for training and professional development on the frameworks before being evaluated.
"It is evident from this survey that our members agree that IMPACT is a flawed instrument with many loopholes," stated WTU President George Parker. "An effective system of teacher evaluation should provide educators with feedback and support that engenders and encourages excellence in teaching and learning for the benefit of students. IMPACT falls short of that goal."
The WTU had requested that DCPS not implement adverse actions against teachers as a result of IMPACT evaluations during the first year and that DCPS pilot IMPACT before implementing it throughout the school system. If nothing else, the WTU contends that there should have been clearer communication on expectations, more complete training on the new framework and clearer roles and expectations.
"While the WTU wants teachers to be held accountable, teachers should also be evaluated fairly with a fair instrument," stated Parker. "DC Public Schools has yet again found a subjective way to fire teachers, many of whom were not evaluated fairly. We look forward to an independent evaluation of the IMPACT evaluation system as agreed to between WTU and DCPS in the new contract. We will challenge today's firings of roughly 81 teachers based on their IMPACT evaluation score because we strongly believe that the instrument should have been piloted during this first year so that teachers, principals, master educators and evaluators could have provided critical feedback on the flaws of the instrument and its' implementation prior to full scale implementation. Our survey results strongly reflect these sentiments.