The New York State Education Department today released cumulative data from the first year of widespread implementation of the Annual Professional Performance Review system, the State’s new evaluation tool for teachers and administrators.

“The purpose of the evaluation system is not to create a ‘gotcha’ environment,” Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said. “The goal is to improve teaching and learning by targeting professional development to make sure every student receives quality instruction. We want to highlight and reward excellence, ensure those who are struggling receive the support they need, and provide continuous feedback to all educators.”

“These are preliminary numbers; we still have a significant amount of analysis to do,” King said. “But we wanted to provide a sense of the landscape. The results are striking. The more accurate student proficiency rates on the new Common Core assessments did not negatively affect teacher ratings. It’s clear that teachers are rising to the challenge of teaching the Common Core. It’s also clear that it’s time to put aside talk about a moratorium on the use of state assessments in educator evaluations and focus on ensuring all students receive the rigorous and engaging instruction that will help them to prepare for college and careers.”

The evaluations are required under the revised teacher and principal evaluation law (Education Law §3012-c) signed into law in 2012. The Board of Regents adopted regulations to implement the law.

Regardless of the outcomes, the Department’s release of the data itself is noteworthy and should be recognized. Above all else, transparency in education policy is vital to the success of the Regents reform agenda in New York.

New York’s APPR presents an unprecedented opportunity for improving accountability in our education system. By combining multiple measures of educator effectiveness, including student performance on both state and locally developed assessments, traditional observations, self-evaluations, peer reviews, and other locally developed performance measures, New York’s APPR provides the fullest picture of an educator’s performance. The APPR establishes a meaningful performance evaluation system which not only identifies high performing, improving, and struggling teachers, but also helps identify where they can improve or most need assistance, as well as sets up a mechanism for developing a customized improvement plan for each educator. Finally, the APPR system streamlines the removal of teachers who, despite targeted improvements and assistance, fail to make needed improvements and should be removed from the classroom.

The APPR system will be an important tool for improving the level of instruction New York’s students receive. Transparency in the results of the evaluation tool are vital to reaching the system’s full potential,