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Georgia’s Leader Effectiveness Story

By: Caroline Wynne Date: July 6, 2015

leadership sign

The Council of Chief State School Officers State Consortium on Educator Effectiveness (SCEE), hosted a two-part webinar series on the Georgia Department of Education’s educator effectiveness story. The first webinar involved the Teacher Keys Effectiveness System, and how the state developed and implemented a successful system for teacher evaluations and professional growth. The second webinar focused on the Leader Keys Effectiveness System, and on the state’s development and implementation of a successful system for leader evaluations and professional growth.

The Leader Keys Effectiveness System (LKES) is used as a common evaluation system that allows the state to ensure consistency and comparability across districts, including inter-rater reliability of observers, based on a common definition of leader effectiveness. LKES provides school leaders with meaningful feedback to support their continuous growth and development by monitoring, analyzing, and applying pertinent data from multiple sources toward attainment of established performance goals.

Georgia’s leader effectiveness measure consists of the following components, housed in the LKES platform powered by Truenorthlogic:

  • Leader Assessment on Performance Standards
    • Performance Goal Setting
    • Documentation of Practice
  • Governance and Leadership
    • Climate Survey
    • Student Attendance
    • Retention of Effective Teachers
  • Student Growth and Academic Achievement
    • Student Growth Percentiles
    • LEA Developed, DOE Approved Student Learning Objectives
    • Achievement Gap Reduction

The process involves having leaders set performance goals, in conjunction with a self-assessment, to determine how they can improve their work in their school buildings. Ongoing conversation about standards happens all year long to help leaders develop a common understanding of standards and expectations. Additional measures are automatically scored and weighted to ensure security and reliability.

During the webinar, Cindy Saxon, Associate Superintendent of Teacher and Leader Effectiveness at the Georgia DOE, shared that the LKES is not used to remove leaders; rather, the system is meant to be a tool to help guide leaders through a consistent process, identifying areas for professional growth, and linking to relevant professional learning modules.

The majority of leaders (principals and assistant principals) act as observers in teacher evaluations. Since student growth is a component of the leader effectiveness measure, and teachers have the biggest impact in student achievement, it’s important that teachers be observed fairly and supported.

The Georgia DOE offers all districts in the state calibration training in support of inter-rater reliability, guaranteeing the evidence collected during a teacher observation is valid and defensible and the score is consistent. Teachers deserve to have fair, accurate, and valid evaluations, this is why inter-rater reliability is a crucial part of the state’s effectiveness systems.

Georgia DOE provides a technology tool to practice observations, including accurately interpreting the evaluation framework, gathering evidence, and scoring, to a portion of observers. Districts have the option to purchase additional calibration training seats as needed, to ensure all of their observers have the opportunity to participate in calibration training. Truenorthlogic Calibration tool manages the calibration events, ratings, and readings. Cindy sees the calibration training and tool as a way to help achieve consistency in the observation, along with an opportunity to delve into ratings to see why a particular rating was given.

Cindy’s advice to other states, based on her experience implementing both teacher and leader effectiveness systems, is to “build a balance between the teacher piece and leader piece.”