The state Board of Education will hold a special meeting today to adopt the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council’s recommendations regarding teacher evaluations.
The recommendations the state board is expected to adopt will influence tenure or dismissal proceedings as soon as 2014 under the new education reform legislation signed into law last month. Next year, the new system will be piloted in 10 school districts.
The framework approved by the council in January called for 45 percent of a teacher’s grade to be based on evidence of student achievement. But a battle erupted this summer over how much of that would be based on test scores.
The council agreed test scores would make up half — or 22.5 percent of the student achievement portion — but the dispute centered on what could be included in the remaining 22.5 percent. The panel specified that 22.5 percent should be based on “other indicators” of student achievement, such as portfolios of students’ work.
PEAC members representing school boards and administrators suggested schools should be able to choose to include additional tests as one of the “other indicators.” Leaders of the state’s two teacher unions strongly objected, saying that’s not what the panel approved.
The consensus proposed by state Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor allowed a maximum of one additional standardized test and a minimum of one indicator that is not a test in the disputed 22.5 percent. The mix would be determined by mutual consent between the teacher and evaluator.
The state’s two teacher unions have warned the council not to rely too heavily on standardized test scores, but they didn’t object to moving forward with the recommendations that were finalized without a vote on June 21 .
Earlier this month, Mary Loftus Levine, executive director of the Connecticut Education Association, worried the compromise would result in evaluations that rely too much on tests. It is “a lot more work” to use other indicators such as behavior, attendance and portfolios of students’ work than to look at a test score, but it gives a truer picture of a teacher’s abilities, she said.
The teacher evaluations will be piloted in 10 school districts and studied by the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education. A report on the effectiveness of the evaluation systems, which may vary slightly from district to district, will be given to state lawmakers by October 2013.
Today’s meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.