ALBANY—This week’s unprecedented boycott of standardized testing in public schools will further muddle the already convoluted teacher-evaluation process for school districts, setting up another battle between state education officials and unions.
Late last month, New York State United Teachers began encouraging parents to “opt out” their children from state exams, with the union president arguing that doing so would undermine the teacher-evaluation system, which is partly based on the test scores. Tens of thousands of students refused to take the tests.
It now looks as if there actually won’t be enough information to use tests as part of the rating system for some teachers, and now the state education department and the union are clashing on how to handle those situations.
The state education department argues that those teachers should be evaluated using a different process, while the union says they shouldn’t be evaluated at all.
A teacher's APPR test component "growth score" must be based on 16 or more students.
Many teachers are going to have far fewer students who sat for the exam.
Read the entire Bakeman article to see just how complicated and fraught the process to rate teachers with fewer than 16 students is going to be.
But the takeaway is this:
Dan Kinley, director of policy and program development for NYSUT, said there were situations last year when teachers didn’t meet the 16-score requirement because of the “opt out” movement, although far fewer than there likely will be this year. Then, Kinley said, districts gave teachers no score for the 20 percent of the ratings based on state tests. And despite that the teachers had scores for the 20 percent based on local tests and the 60 percent based on observations, they received no overall evaluation.
The system is scored on a scale of “ineffective,” “developing,” “effective” and “highly effective.” Teachers with two consecutive “ineffective” scores could be fired under state law.
“Last year when teachers experienced this, and it wasn’t obviously as widespread as it was this year, they received no score in that category, and that’s what should happen,” Kinley said. “If a subcomponent is not properly handled, they should receive no rating at all.”
Criticizing the education department, he said: “There is nothing in any of the guidance, regulation or law that indicates this is what you do. They are simply making it up as they go.”
In short, it's a mess and the educrats don't know how to fix it.
They're still talking tough, but it's becoming more and more clear that the evaluation system, at least for elementary and middle school teachers, is imploding in on them.