Challenges in Evaluating Special Education Teachers and English Language Learner Specialists
The National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality, with support from the Council for Exceptional Children, conducted a study with administrators and state and district directors of special education on policies and practices the evaluation of special education teachers and English language learner (ELL) specialists. The challenges of evaluation systems for this population of teachers are that few systems have the capacity to differentiate among specialty area educators, to accurately measure student achievement growth for their students, and to connect that growth to teacher effects. Over 1,100 state and district directors of special education were surveyed and numerous administrators were interviewed in order to define specific challenges in evaluating this population of teachers, determine the current status of state and district policy and practice, and identify promising evaluation practices and instruments. Based on the results of the survey, interviews, and reviews of the literature and current practice, the authors offer policy recommendations to support the design and implementation of valid, comprehensive teacher evaluation systems based on teachers’ specialties and areas of expertise.