Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) Experience

As the nation’s leading practitioner, trainer and evaluator of SLOs, CTAC has extensive experience and expertise in SLO implementation. Moreover, CTAC introduced SLOs nationally in partnership with the Denver Public Schools and Denver Classroom Teachers Association. We have worked with more than 20 states and numerous districts that are moving down the pathway of using SLOs as part of evaluation systems. Examples include:

New York State. CTAC is providing large-scale support to the New York State Education Department to implement an integrated system of Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) and teacher observations for purposes of teacher and principal evaluation across all 714 school districts. Using a train-the-trainers model, reinforced by a regional approach, to strengthen SLO practice and measure student academic growth, our training has reached more than 220,000 teachers and 5,000 principals. This is the largest statewide implementation of SLOs for purposes of evaluation in the nation.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), North Carolina. CTAC worked with CMS to help develop, implement, and evaluate a Teacher Incentive Fund initiative linking teacher effectiveness, student growth and performance-based compensation. CTAC’s evaluation demonstrates that high-quality SLOs contribute to improving teaching and bolstering student growth. This work around performance-based compensation and teacher effectiveness was one of the elements which contributed to CMS winning the Broad Prize in 2011 for being the urban school district in America that demonstrated the greatest overall performance and improvement in student achievement while reducing achievement gaps.

Denver Public Schools, Colorado. CTAC assisted the Denver Public Schools and Denver Classroom Teachers Association to develop, implement, and assess its groundbreaking performance-based appraisal and compensation initiative. CTAC research found that students whose teachers crafted high quality SLOs outperformed their peers and showed significantly greater gain on two independent measures of student achievement at all three school levels during all years under study. The project demonstrated that linking what students learn to what teachers earn can be a catalyst for systemic change that benefits students and teachers. Denver teachers approved the new teacher compensation system, ProComp, by a 3-to-2 margin and Denver voters approved a $25 million tax increase by a 3-to-2 margin to fund the new system.

Delhi Unified School District, California. CTAC is partnering with Delhi Unified School District in implementing a Teacher Incentive Fund-supported initiative, providing technical counsel and evaluation services. Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) are the anchor of the district’s new evaluation and compensation systems, serving as both a measure of student academic growth and a measure of teacher practice. Based on the strength and systemic potential of this initiative, the Delhi Board of Trustees and the Delhi Teachers Association re-opened a pre-existing collective bargaining agreement to incorporate and sustain the new performance-based human capital management system.

Central Ohio. CTAC is providing technical assistance to a coalition that includes the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, LEAs and charter schools in Central Ohio. Over a three-year period, this partnership is developing and implementing an initiative linking teacher evaluation, compensation reform, and licensure change in order to improve student learning and strengthen teacher practice. As the foundation of this initiative, SLOs are being used to measure teacher practice and student academic growth in both tested and non-tested grades and subjects.

Nationwide. At the request of the U.S. Department of Education, CTAC has provided assistance toward developing a national library of annotated SLOs. CTAC has annotated thirty SLOs from 10 jurisdictions, 9 states and 1 large urban school district, providing detailed analyses of what makes specific components of these SLOs strong or weak. CTAC’s national experience has demonstrated that providing annotations of SLOs is more instructive to practitioners than providing exemplars without explanatory support. The annotated SLOs include specific guidance for improving the quality of SLOs to meet the expectations of the jurisdiction.