Monday, June 8, 2015

2015 Working Conditions: Improving with Room to Improve More

The newest TELL results suggest that Kentucky educators are seeing improvement in their working conditions. TELL is short for  the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning Kentucky Survey, taken this spring by nearly 45,000 school-based certified educators, asking them how much they agree with a series of statements about their own schools.

Compared to the 2013 results, teachers were more positive on all 80 items. The biggest change: 68% of teachers agreed that "professional development is evaluated and results are communicated to teachers," in 2015, up from just 61% two years back.  The smallest change: whether "teachers have sufficient access to instructional technology," with 82.1% agreeing now compared to 82.0% in 2013.

The greatest promise of the TELL survey is that it can help us figure out how to strengthen learning by supporting teachers, and to get those benefits, we need to pay extra attention to the weakest results.  So, here are the 10 items that got the lowest teacher agreement in 2015, with the 2013 responses included to show both that we've made some progress and that there's room for lots more work:
Much of the work to change these numbers will need to be done locally, so do check out the school-by-school reports available at, and think about what might be the best ways to make your own places stronger.

At the state level, these numbers may suggest that it's time for another, deeper search for great approaches to:
  1. Freeing time for teachers to meet individual student needs, with that time spent both in classroom instruction and in non-classroom work spent analyzing evidence and ideas for making that instruction more effective for each child.
  2. Making sure professional development matters –which may turn out to mean making it an embedded, connected part of that search for evidence and ideas" on how to serve each child.
  3. Engaging parents and guardians more effectively –again with particular attention to collaboration on understanding and meeting individual needs.
  4. Empowering teachers to have deeper, more effective influence on school decisions –especially those that effect items 1, 2, and 3 above.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!