Legislators Consider When to Use Student Assessments in Teacher Evaluations

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Senator Nancy J. King, image courtesy of the Maryland General Assembly

The Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee heard testimony last Wednesday on a number of bills dealing with the implementation of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) student achievement test.

The Cecil Whig recently reported on the proposed legislation that would allow local school boards to decide how much PARCC assessment results would play a role in teacher evaluations, if at all.

“A one-size-fits-all model will not, and probably never will, work for a state as diverse as ours,” said State Sen. Nancy King (D-Montgomery), a sponsor of one of the bills. . . The achievement test, which is aligned with the Common Core State Standards, will be pilot tested this spring, and will be completely administered next school year. Without further legislation, student scores on the test will be worth 20 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. The problem with this, according to King, is that the Maryland Department of Education forced the local school systems to adopt this evaluation method. Additionally, teachers would not yet be accustomed to the new curriculum.

Senator King’s bill, SB165 Education – Maryland School Assessment – Request for Waiver , as described by the Department of Legislative Services,

requires the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to request a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education from specific provisions of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act that require MSDE to administer the Maryland School Assessments (MSAs) in the spring of 2014.

Another bill sponsored by Senator King, SB676 Teachers and Principals – Performance Evaluation Criteria – Use of Student Growth Data, would prohibit the use of student growth data based on State assessments in the performance evaluation criteria for teachers and principals to make personnel decisions before the 2016-2017 school year.

Senator Madaleno’s SB910 Education – Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act – Waivers and SB911 Education – Performance Evaluation Criteria – Default Model and Senator Reilly’s SB408 Education – Common Core State Standards – Implementation Timeline, SB578 Education – Evaluation of Teachers and Principals – Implementation Timeline, SB579 Education – Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) – Implementation Timeline and  were also heard on the same day in the Senate committee.

As discussed previously on Conduit Street, Maryland Education Secretary Lillian Lowery recently stated her desire to delay changes in teacher evaluations until the 2016-2017 school year so that teachers have adequate time to adjust to the new standards.

For more information, see this previous post in Conduit Street.

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