Professional Development | News

Louisiana Districts Sign On With Teacher Evaluation Software

Louisiana school districts have deployed performance evaluation software in response to new state requirements calling for annual observations that factor in students' academic growth.

Act 54 requires all teachers to be evaluated on an annual basis. Now, formal evaluations must be conducted every three years, and informal ones each year. Student academic growth counts for 50 percent of evaluations, with observations and peer reviews making up the other 50 percent. Previously, student growth was not considered as part of evaluations. In the 2009-2010 school year, 24 schools participated in phase one of the pilot program to gather feedback. In 2010-2011, 20 districts participated in order to refine the tools. This school year, all public schools in the state are participating in the last round of the pilot project. In 2012-2013, the evaluations begin in earnest, as the statute takes effect.

Cloud-based TalentEd Perform, developed by Netchemia, generates evaluation reports that meet Act 54 requirements. The software manages observations online, monitors the evaluation process, and tracks compliance.

Two districts that are using TalentEd Perform are St. James Parish Schools, with approximately 5,000 students, and Lafayette Parish School System, which teaches about 30,000.

"When we realized the amount of extra time that Act 54 would require of our school administrators, we knew that we would need to find a way to make the evaluation process as easy and efficient as we could for them," said Jane Kearley, Lafayette Parish director of human resources.

TalentEd Perform conforms to COMPASS, Louisiana's current evaluation model, and also offers customizable evaluation forms for use with rubrics already in use at individual districts.

Additional features include:

  • Automated evaluation scheduling;
  • Supervisor dashboard, which lets administrators view evaluations in one location, and monitor future meetings;
  • The ability to manage observations via iPad or other mobile device;
  • Online peer assessments;
  • Artifacts-based digital portfolio for teachers;
  • Personal improvement plan tracking by administrators;
  • Standards Manager, which links evaluations to specified standards; and
  • Data synchronization with existing human resource management systems.

"Its ease of use, along with its ability to be a comprehensive online process for our administrators, is what sold us on this system," added Kearley.

For more information, visit the Netchemia Web site.

About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @editortim.