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Colorado teachers TELL all

How will state officials and educational leaders know whether Senate Bill 10-191, the so-called teacher effectiveness, law is achieving the desired effect of creating better teachers?
In part, they will consult annual results of the TELL Teaching, Empowering, Leading & Learning (TELL) Survey. The preliminary 2013 results, released Tuesday, will be used as baseline data for the new evaluation system.Among other things, the 2013 survey found that:

  • Six out of 10 educators — or 62 percent respondents — report that the teacher evaluation process improves teachers’ instructional strategies.
  • Four out of five educators report teacher evaluations are fair in their school and six out of 10 educators — or 62 percent — agree that the teacher evaluation process accurately identifies effectiveness.
  • Of note, 27 districts piloting the State Model Evaluation System are more positive about evaluation than other educators across Colorado, including improving instructional strategies and accurately identifying effectiveness.

These are a few of the findings in a preliminary report released by the New Teacher Center, the organization that administers the survey, based on responses from more than 33,000 educators representing 55 percent of the state’s teachers.

This represents an 8 percentage point increase from the 47 percent responding in 2011 and a 19 percentage point increase from the first TELL Survey in 2009.

On average, 57 percent of elementary school educators responded in the survey, 61 percent of middle school educators responded, 48 percent of high school educators responded, and 35 percent of educators from other types of schools, such as alternative or vocational responded.

Sixty percent of schools in the state met or exceeded the 50 percent response rate threshold required to receive an individual school-level data report and 112 of the state’s districts had sufficient response rates to attain district-level data.

Here are other key findings:

  • Six out of 10 educators, or 60 percent, agree that teachers have time available to collaborate with colleagues compared to 56 percent in 2011.
  • More than half of educators report that teachers have sufficient non-instructional time.
  • Fifty-seven percent of educators report that teacher class sizes are sufficient to help them meet individual learner needs.
  • A majority of educators agree that school leadership acknowledges teacher expertise, hold teachers to high standards and provide opportunities for teachers to lead in their school assessments and curriculum to shape instruction.
  • Four out of five educators agree that teachers in their school are recognized as educational experts (79 percent) and are trusted to make sound professional decisions about instruction (78 percent).
  • More than three-quarters of educators also report that their school leadership consistently supports teachers (77 percent).

Similar to 2011, it appears that the state’s newest teachers are not necessarily receiving strong mentoring support that will help them get better, faster. About one-quarter of the 3,853 teachers in their first three years were not assigned a mentor in 2013.

There will also be additional analyses and reports examining the connections of teaching and learning conditions with student achievement and teacher retention; validity and reliability of the survey instrument; and a variety of group comparisons (principals and teachers, etc.). All resources and reporting will be made available electronically at

The New Teacher Center is a national non-profit dedicated to “improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers and school leaders,” according to its website. NTC works with schools districts, state policymakers and educators across the country to develop and implement induction programs aligned with district learning goals.

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