TELL survey shows improved school working conditions

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Overall, Kentucky educators are more positive about teaching and learning conditions in their schools than they were in 2013 according to results from the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) Kentucky Survey presented to the Kentucky Board of Education at today’s meeting.

This year a record 89.3 percent – almost 45,000 – of eligible school-based certified educators in Kentucky responded to the anonymous, biennial survey, which was first given in the state in 2011.

The survey includes topics such as time, school leadership, teacher leadership, facilities and resources, professional development, community engagement and support, instructional practices and support, student conduct, and new teacher support. Additionally, principals were surveyed about supports they receive from their school district. Research by the New Teacher Center has demonstrated these conditions are essential elements of student achievement and teacher retention.

Statewide, there has been continuous improvement in each area over the three administrations of the survey. In the 2015 survey, schools made the greatest improvements to areas with the least positive conditions in 2013:

  • The amount of routine paperwork teachers are required to do is minimized.
  • Professional development is evaluated and results are communicated to teachers.
  • Class sizes are reasonable such that teachers have the time available to meet the needs of all students.
  • State assessment data are available in time to impact instructional practices.
  • Professional development is differentiated to meet the needs of individual teachers.
  • Teachers have an appropriate level of influence in decision making in the school.

While time saw the most growth of any of the areas since 2013, it remained the least positively viewed area in the survey. The individual item with the largest increase over 2013 dealt with schools that used the results from the TELL Kentucky Survey as a tool for school improvement.

Since 2011, KDE and the coalition partners have been actively working to improve school conditions across
the Commonwealth using TELL Kentucky Survey data. Examples of policies resulting from collaborative efforts across the state include:

  • The new Kentucky Professional Growth and Effectiveness System incorporates the use of the TELL data
    as a required component of the evaluation tool being developed to assess administrator effectiveness.
  • The Consolidated District Improvement Plan (CDIP) and the Consolidated School Improvement Plan
    (CSIP) require the use of the TELL data.
  • The Kentucky Learning Forward initiative used 2011 TELL data when examining policy recommendations
    impacting the use of teachers’ time and continued opportunities for teachers to collaborate.

In addition, after a previous survey indicated technology in the schools was an issue, the Kentucky
Department of Education requested and received an increase in technology funding to address the reliability and speed of Internet connections in local schools.

As a result, there was an improvement in the number of positive responses on 2015 TELL Survey technology questions. Approximately 95 percent of surveyed schools (1,339 of 1,409) met or exceeded the 50 percent response rate threshold required to receive an individual school-level data report. All results, including a statewide summary, may be viewed online at www.tellkentucky.org

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