Sunday, May 15, 2011
Teacher Reviews Will Put More Focus on State Tests
Posted by Leonie Haimson to NYCEDNews List:
NYS Regents now want to do end run around the law to allow state tests – which were not designed for that purpose – to account for 40% of a teacher’s evaluation, despite all the evidence that test-based value added evals of teachers are unreliable, unfair to teachers and damaging to kids. This system – rushed through the Legislature to get Race to the Top funds - were originally supposed to account for 20%, with another 20% from “local assessments”.
“The new system is scheduled to be used in the coming school year for English and math teachers in Grades 4 through 8, and then for all teachers the following year.”
The article also says there will be new “state tests by 2012-13, for middle school science and social studies, and ninth- and 10th-grade English, where none exist now. “
And then we are supposed to get a whole new raft of standardized tests for the Common Core by 2014? Are these people insane?
Perhaps Shael Suransky thinks he cannot get his proposed 16 new local standardized tests through in this budget climate – and w/out the assent of the UFT – so he is pushing King and Tisch to allow the state tests to be used instead for the whole 40%. Tests, again, that were never designed for this purpose.
All hugely expensive, at a time of rampant budget cuts, at a time when parents are already up in arms at their children’s steady diet of testing and test prep, and all to evaluate teacher performance by means of a dysfunctional method that no one with any expertise believes in. Unbelievable.
SED also posted a new draft of the regs two days before voting on them; this should be illegal in itself.
Cuomo also is using Duncan’s trick to try to bribe districts, saying that “Only those districts that put the evaluation system into effect would be eligible for money from $500 million set aside in the state budget to reward school performance. “ How did the legislature let this $500 million boondoggle go through?
How did things get so bad?
05/14/nyregion/ny-teacher- evaluations-will-emphasize- test-scores-more.html?_r=1&hpw
Teacher Reviews Will Put More Focus on State Tests
Published: May 13, 2011
Responding to criticism from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and others, state education officials on Friday revised their plans for evaluating teachers so that up to 40 percent of their annual reviews could be based on students’ scores on state standardized tests.
A measure passed last year had outlined 20 percent as the standard.
State officials have been developing the details of a new evaluation system for teachers and principals since legislation was passed last year as part of New York’s successful effort to win a $700 million federal grant.
The regulations are expected to be enacted on Monday by the Board of Regents, the state’s education policy-making body.
“These are not perfect tools by any means,” the chancellor of the Board of Regents, Merryl H. Tisch, said. “But that being said, I believe it is important to have an objective system to evaluate teachers on a professional basis. This is the beginning of such a process.”
After negotiations between state and union officials, the Legislature passed a bill last year that said 60 percent of a teacher’s evaluation would be based on subjective measures like a principal’s observations, a review of student work, or surveys of parents and students; 20 percent on local tests or other assessments; and 20 percent on state tests, potentially rising to 25 percent in subsequent years.
For years, teachers’ unions were bitterly opposed to the use of standardized test scores to measure teacher achievement, and evaluation systems across New York remain inconsistent.
The new system is scheduled to be used in the coming school year for English and math teachers in Grades 4 through 8, and then for all teachers the following year.
Mr. Cuomo, however, has been critical of the law, particularly since March, when he indicated that a high-quality evaluation system had to be in place before he could support a push by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to end seniority protections in layoffs.
Over the last several weeks, the governor’s office lobbied the Regents to make the evaluation system more objective and more comparable across the state’s roughly 700 school districts.
Ms. Tisch said on Friday that all of the governor’s concerns had been addressed in the new draft of the regulations, which essentially put the law into effect.
The new regulations permit local districts to use state test scores for the local-test portion of the evaluation, meaning that in some districts, the state scores could count for 40 percent of a teacher’s rating. State officials said that because such a change would require the agreement of both a local district and the union in the district, it was within the law.
But Richard C. Iannuzzi, the head of the state union, New York State United Teachers, said in a statement on Friday that he was opposed to the revision, calling it “clearly outside the scope of the legislation.”
The new regulations also make other changes. Before, the bar was set so low that teachers could get a passing rating even if their students utterly bungled their standardized tests. The new version makes that nearly impossible.
The regulations also outline plans to create new state tests by 2012-13, for middle school science and social studies, and ninth- and 10th-grade English, where none exist now.
In subjects in which there is no state testing, it would be up to local districts, with state approval, to determine how to judge their teachers against goals established for student performance.
The governor’s office had also expressed concern that it could take years before the evaluation system was in place across the state, because each district must agree to it individually.
So Mr. Cuomo said on Friday that he planned to offer an incentive: Only those districts that put the evaluation system into effect would be eligible for money from $500 million set aside in the state budget to reward school performance.
In a letter to Ms. Tisch on Friday, Mr. Cuomo wrote, “We must not squander the opportunity to set the right course and make New York a leader in evaluating performance in our education system.”
A version of this article appeared in print on May 14, 2011, on page A17 of the New York edition with the headline: Teacher Reviews Will Put More Focus on State Tests.