Bush Center Report Finds Evaluation for School Principals in Wisconsin Adequate, but Lacking in Some Areas

by Christian D’Andrea
MacIver Institute Education Policy Analyst

This year, a pilot program aimed at grading teachers and administrators has begun taking root in Wisconsin. According to analysis done by the Bush Institute and the Alliance to Reform Educational Leadership, this program is a strong start but it may also come up short when it comes to some standards of data collection.

AREL and the Bush Center singled out how principals would be evaluated in the upcoming educator effectiveness program. That program went into effect this fall, but won’t be fully operational until the 2014-2015 school year. That switch coincides with other local reforms – most notably the adoption of SMARTER Consortium standardized testing that will replace the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination.

This study showed that the state will meet national standards when it comes to evaluating how effective a school’s principal is. The state meets expectations when it comes to grading administrators on items such as implementing data-driven instruction, recruiting/developing/assessing teachers, implementing proper licensing requirements, and developing a positive culture within a school.

However, the state also lacks data collection in several elements that would tell administrators just how big of an effect a principal has within his or her school. According to this AREL/Bush Center report, the principal effectiveness program does not include in-depth reviews of components like curriculum development, candidate selection when it comes to hiring, and staff evaluations.

This gives the state a set of standards that it can work towards in terms of shaping its educator – and administrator – effectiveness programs in the future. With a full school year left before implementation, Wisconsin’s leaders can take these recommendations into consideration before the pilot program spreads throughout the Badger State. While the current program is leaps and bounds more accountable than prior evaluation systems, this AREL report shows that there is still room for improvement going forward.

For the full scorecard on Wisconsin’s assessment for public school principals, click here.