Nearly 98 percent of Florida teachers earned a top rating, according to initial statewide teacher evaluation data released Tuesday, a slight increase over last year's results.
About one-third of teachers earned the top rating of "highly effective," up from 23 percent of teachers last year. About 66 percent were rated "effective," the largest category this year.
And the percentage of teachers earning the lowest ratings declined. This year, 1.4 percent of teachers were rated "needs improvement." Last year 2.1 percent of teachers earned a "needs improvement rating.
Just two of every 1,000 teachers were rated "unsatisfactory," about the same rate as last year.
About 14 percent of teachers have yet to be rated.
This is the second year Florida has published statewide teacher evaluation data. The evaluations are required by a 2011 law. State law requires school districts to create evaluation systems based mostly on student improvement on state standardized tests. School districts could require more training and supervision for poorly-rated teachers and less supervision for highly-rated teachers.
Next year, all teachers across the state will be paid based on their evaluations.
The state's largest teachers union has challenged the evaluation law in court and argued the system is unfair. Some teachers of courses that might not have an end-of-year exam, such as art or music, have been evaluated using school-wide average scores. Teachers say that means they are evaluated based on students they have not taught.
Teacher evaluations could be an important issue in next year's gubernatorial race.
For more info on how the evaluations are calculated and what the ratings mean, check out this story.