State education board Chairman Allan B. Taylor and Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell both praised the action as an important clarification of the role state tests should play: a goal-setting tool for teachers, not part of a formula for rating an individual teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom. State teacher unions had fought using the state tests as part of teacher evaluations for years.
More time is needed before requiring that teachers be evaluated based in part on student test scores, says the panel the State Board of Education relies on for advice in such matters. The state board has pushed back the deadline for doing so year after year, and the last time members said it would be the last.
Should the state require using student test scores to evaluate teachers? Officials have delayed answering that question for years.
Connecticut’s Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) met last week to discuss a response to data that show teacher evaluation systems have identified very few people to dismiss, and assign high ratings to most teachers — a pattern which has been reported in many states across the country over the last five years. This shouldn’t be a surprise, because many states are using similar tools for teacher evaluation: a state-specific version of Danielson’s Framework for Teaching (here dubbed the Common Core of Teaching, CCT), or other generic teaching rubric applied to teachers regardless of grade or subject area. When we use the same, blunt tools, we can expect the same, nonspecific results.
Teachers’ unions, school boards and education reformers are gearing up for a fight over whether to retreat from grading teachers on how their students do on standardized tests. But before the decision is made, Connecticut’s education chief wants a review of whether using test scores actually helps improve education.
The state panel that developed Connecticut’s teacher evaluation system three years ago met Wednesday to find ways to instill confidence in its utility among the state’s teachers. The mission: ensure it is used to improve the profession and learning among students.