Teacher evaluations to be based on standardized test results

MGN Online
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 7:51pm

There will soon be a new way in Texas for teachers to be evaluated.

It will come down to the students' standardized test scores.

As part of the state’s waiver from specific provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has submitted to the U.S. Department of Education specific details of a new teacher evaluation and support system that will be piloted in as many as 72 school districts and charters in the 2014-2015 school year.

For the first time, the new system ties teacher assessments to student performance on standardized tests.

The new system requires that school districts base 20 percent of teacher evaluations, which are used for pay and employment decisions on student growth data that includes standardized test scores.

The governor and other politicians back the proposal saying it enables the state to opt out of federal mandates set forth by the No Child Left Behind Act.

But Superintendent for Canutillo ISD Pedro Galaviz doesn't agree with this.

"How do you evaluate the individual learner when your assessment is that one size fits all," he said.

Previously, teachers evaluation were based on planning, instruction, learning environment and professional responsibilities including a teacher self assessment, and after 17 years this is only 80 percent of the evaluation.

President for the El Paso Federation of Teachers said the other 20 percent isn't really helping students, it may even be hurting them.

"It is only looking at one thing. It is looking at a teachers students numbers," she said. "It doesn't allow for all of the external factors that can affect the student on any given day, even on days when they are taking the test."

Teachers agree.

One Alderete Middle School math teacher said not all students are able to learn at the same pace.

"We need to be held accountable to a certain extent," said 7th and 8th grade math teacher Raquel Gonzalez. "But on the other side, we have students who are learning at different levels and we also have students who have stress and anxiety when they take tests."

Another middle school instructor said test don't really measure a teacher's ability to teach.

"It's measuring ok can the kid answer a multiple choice test question," said Ruby Palacios, an 8th grade math teacher at Alderete Middle School. "And we have good guessers who can do eeny meeny miny moe and get a good grade, but what does that really say about the teacher and the learning that the student has."

The Texas American Federation of Teachers plan to speak before the House Public Education Committee Wednesday and bring up these exact issues.

In a statement they said "The Commissioner of Education's 'Teacher Evaluation and Support System' will worsen the obsession with and misuse of standardized testing."

They go on to state: "They [government officials] should not be allowed to get away with this disservice to Texas students already suffering the ill effects of the obsession with standardized state tests..."

While El Paso isn't going to take part in the 2014-2015 school year, the 72 districts and charters will provide valuable feedback over the course of the next year. They are as follows:

Abernathy ISD; Allen ISD; Alvarado ISD; Arlington ISD; Ballinger ISD; Bronte ISD; Brownwood ISD; Burleson ISD; Bynum ISD; Calallen ISD; Clarendon ISD; Clifton ISD; Clint ISD; Corsicana ISD; Cotton Center ISD; Crosbyton ISD; Cuero ISD; Cypress Fairbanks ISD; Denver City ISD; Elgin ISD; Faith Family Academy; Fayetteville ISD; Fort Hancock ISD; Friendswood ISD; Grand Prairie ISD; Hawley ISD; Highland Park ISD (Potter County); Hillsboro ISD; Holliday ISD; Hondo ISD; Houston Heights Learning Academy; Jubilee Academic Center; Lake Travis ISD; Lamar Consolidated ISD; Latexo ISD; Levelland ISD; Linden-Kildare CISD; Lorenzo ISD; Los Fresnos ISD; Martinsville ISD; Mathis ISD; Meyersville ISD; Moody ISD; Odem-Edroy ISD; Paris ISD; Pflugerville ISD; Pine Tree ISD; Port Arthur ISD; Port Neches-Grove ISD; Presidio ISD; Nocona ISD; Quinlan ISD; Red Lick ISD; Santa Gertrudis ISD; Scurry-Rosser ISD; Shallowater ISD; Stafford; MISD; Sweetwater ISD; Taft ISD; Teague ISD; Temple ISD; Tulia ISD; Weslaco ISD; Wharton ISD; Whitney ISD; Wimberly ISD; Winfield ISD; Wink-Loving ISD; Woodsboro ISD; Wortham ISD; Wylie ISD (Collin County) ; and Valley Mills ISD

Observations and recommended revisions from these pilot districts will be utilized to strengthen the final appraisal system.

To view complete details of the new Teacher Evaluation and Support System submitted by the Texas Education Agency to the U.S. Department of Education, visit http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=25769803880.

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