The New York State Education Department today released cumulative data from the first year of widespread implementation of the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) system, the State’s new evaluation tool for teachers and administrators. 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, and NYSED should be applauded for embracing a transparent approach to the data.