Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, August 16, 2013

Obama Administration Warns Three States To Tie Teacher Evaluations To Test Scores Or Lose NCLB Waivers

The Obama administration threatens three states who they say are not complying with their teacher evaluations tied to test scores dictates:

The Education Department said Thursday that three of 40 states granted waivers from the No Child Left Behind law were at high risk of losing them, because they either have been slow to link teacher evaluations with student achievement or had adopted programs that didn't meet federal guidelines.

If they fail to comply with federal requirements by May, Kansas, Oregon and Washington state face losing their waivers from the George W. Bush-era law, which could entail a loss of autonomy over some funding decisions and changes in how school districts' performance is judged.

The Education Department granted all three states approval to continue their waiver programs for the 2013-2014 school year and asked each to submit a plan of recourse within the next month.
Oregon plans to appeal the designation, while Kansas is undecided and Washington won't appeal, state officials said.

This is first time states have been given such a warning for this program, federal officials said. "What we really need is for states to commit to a solution to show what works for them and meets our broad parameters," said an Education Department official during a conference call Thursday.

Oregon and Kansas have been trying to create teacher evaluations systems tied to test scores that work well - but Arne Duncan and the USDOE don't care about that.

They just want teacher evaluations tied to test scores NOW:

Both Kansas and Oregon said they needed more time to finesse their pilot programs for teacher and principal evaluations. While Oregon hasn't decided on a definite program to use, Kansas wants more time to perfect its plan of choice.

"It appears that they want us to go at a faster pace than what we are prepared to do at this time," said Diane DeBacker, commissioner of education in Kansas. Ms. DeBacker described the state's relationship with the Education Department as positive overall.

Who cares if these teacher evaluation systems tied to "student achievement" work or not?

Just make sure they're in place by our deadline or we revoke your NCLB waiver and declare all the schools in your state failing.

Barack Obama and Arne Duncan - change in the education system because we said you have to!


  1. Can you drop me your email if you have a moment. My blog is called Wait, What? and is located at

  2. Amazing how they own the debate on this.

    No recognition that it is very rare --internationally-- for teachers to be evaluated on student test scores.

    International studies of teacher evaluation have pointed out the flaws of a test-centric focus:
    However, as Baker et al (2010) highlight, VAM estimates have proven to be unstable across statistical models, years, and teaching classes. Studies quoted in Baker et al (2010) prove in fact that a teacher who appears to be ineffective in one year may achieve dramatically different results the following year.
    VAM’s instability can result from differences in the characteristics of students assigned to given teachers in a particular year and from specific evaluation measures. Such factors include: small samples of students (made even less representative in schools serving disadvantaged students and which have high rates of student mobility), other influences on student learning both inside and outside school, and tests which are poorly lined up with the curriculum teachers are expected to cover, or which do not measure the full range of achievement of students in the class.
    A number of non-teacher factors have been found to have strong influences on student learning gains. These include the influence of other teachers, tutors or instructional specialists; school conditions — such as the quality of curriculum materials, specialist or tutoring supports, class size, resources, learning environment; and other factors that affect learning. . . .
    Surveys have found that teacher attrition and demoralisation have been associated with test-based accountability efforts, particularly in high-need schools.
    The use of VAMS is also associated with a narrowing of the curriculum; a de facto curriculum whose subject matter is defined by what is tested.

    --Laura Figazzalo, "THE USE AND MISUSE OF TEACHER APPRAISAL: An overview of cases in the developed world," cited in