Grace Tatter reports that officials at the Tennessee Department of Education are “perplexed” by concerns over using TNReady data in this year’s teacher evaluations.
While a number of districts have passed resolutions asking for a waiver from including TVAAS scores in this year’s teacher evaluations due to the transition to TNReady, a department spokesperson said:
“Districts have complete discretion to choose how they want to factor that data,” Ball said Thursday. “They don’t have to use TNReady or growth data in hiring, firing, retention or promotion.”
As Tatter’s story notes, however, data from TNReady will still be a part of a teacher’s TVAAS score — 10%. And that score becomes a part of a teacher’s overall evaluation score — a ranking from 1-5 that purports to measure a teacher’s relative effectiveness.
10% is enough to move a ranking up or down a number, and that can have significant impacts on a teacher’s career, even if they are not fired and their pay is not impacted. Of course, some districts may use this year’s data for those purposes, since it is not prohibited under the evaluation changes passed last year.
Dan Lawson outlines some of the of impact faced by teachers based on that final number:
The statutorily revised “new tenure” requires five years of service (probationary period) as well as an overall score of “4” or “5” for two consecutive years preceding the recommendation to the Board of Education. Last year, no social studies assessment score was provided since it was a field tested and the teacher was compelled to select a school wide measure of growth. He chose POORLY and his observation score of a “4.38” paired with a school wide growth score in the selected area of a “2” producing a sum teacher score of “3” thereby making him ineligible for tenure nomination.
According to TCA 49-5-503, a teacher may not be awarded tenure unless she achieves a TEAM score of 4 or 5 in two consecutive years immediately prior to being tenure eligible. That means a TVAAS score that takes a teacher from a 4 to a 3 would render her ineligible.
Further, a tenured teacher who receives a TEAM score of a 1 or 2 in two consecutive years is returned to probationary status (TCA 49-5-504). So, that tenured teacher who was a 2 last year could be impacted by a TNReady-based TVAAS score that moves a TEAM score of a 3 down to a 2.
Districts don’t have “complete discretion” to waive state law as TNDOE spokesperson Ashley Ball seems to imply.
Further, basing any part of a teacher’s evaluation on TVAAS scores based on TNReady creates problems with validity. Why include a number in a teacher’s evaluation that is fundamentally invalid?
Teachers want an evaluation process that is fair and transparent. There’s nothing perplexing about that.
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