As schools across the state open their doors for the 2012-2013 school year, Frederick County is field-testing a new teacher-evaluation system to gauge the effectiveness of teachers. Under the new evaluation system, student achievement will be taken into account when assessing teacher effectiveness. As reported by the Gazette, teacher performance has never been measured based on student progress. Frederick County will be testing the system through a “no-fault” pilot program, meaning that reviews will be conducted by principals, but will not count against the teachers.
The new teacher evaluations are controversial, with some opponents questioning whether it is fair to grade teacher performance based on student progress. Concerns have also been raised that it could force teachers to avoid difficult students.
But county school officials, who have been working on plans for the change since the spring, said they believe their system may avoid those complaints.
Gary Brennan, president of the Frederick County Teachers Association, said the union supports the program that is being tested in the county this year.
“We have been working with the school system on the program that we are piloting,” Brennan said.
Student progress in the county will be just one of five areas of evaluation,Tracy Lucas, school system’s director for school administration and leadership said. Teachers will be allowed to set their own targets, choosing to focus on a specific group of students, she said.
“Our goal is to help our teachers grow,” Lucas said.