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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

State-collected teacher evaluation data shows little variance

When Idaho EdNews examined teacher evaluation data from every school district in the state, it found that a quarter of Idaho’s school districts rated all of their teachers as “proficient,” giving no other ratings out. They included some of the state’s largest and smallest districts; EdNews reporter Clark Corbin reports here that the findings raise questions about how teacher evaluations will play into the state’s new “career ladder” teacher pay system that lawmakers approved this year.

Beyond the 32 districts that rated every teacher as “proficient,” another 34 gave that rating to nearly all teachers. That includes Boise, Idaho’s second-largest district, which rated 99.4 percent of its teachers “proficient” – 1,610 of the 1,620 teachers. Five were scored as “basic” and five as “unsatisfactory;” none were rated as “distinguished.” Idaho Falls rated all but one of its 529 teachers “proficient.” Lewiston gave that designation to all but two of its 325 teachers. In the West Ada School District, the state's largest, by contrast, 54.6 percent of the teachers were scored “proficient,” 44.5 percent were scored “distinguished,” and fewer than 1 percent were scored “basic.”

State Rep. Ryan Kerby, the retiring superintendent of the New Plymouth School District, told EdNews that in the 2013-14 school year, he intentionally gave all 59 of his teachers identical “proficient” evaluation scores, out of concern that the state didn’t need to know individual teachers’ specific data. He said the idea was that the “the state should be concerned with whether kids are learning, not if Mrs. Smith got proficient or unsatisfactory or basic.”


Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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