As of July 6th, standardized test scores will have a smaller affect on teacher and school leader evaluations. Rule 160-5-1-.37 carries out Senate Bill 364, approved during the spring, which changes the way teachers, principals, and assistant principals will be evaluated for the 2016-2017 school year.
Standardized test scores previously made up 50 percent of teachers’ evaluations. The other half of teachers’ evaluations came from “multiple additional measures correlated with impacts on student achievement results.” “Additional measures” often included professional development and teacher observations but was not necessarily consistent between different school systems across the state.
Under SB 364, test scores will make up 30 percent of teachers’ evaluations. Evaluations will include professional growth and class observations for the 2016-2017 school year, which will make up 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
Similarly to previous teacher evaluations, principals and assistant principals were evaluated based primarily on test scores (70 percent) and secondarily on “multiple additional measures correlated with impacts on student achievement results.”
Under the new rule, test scores will only account for 40 percent of principals and assistant principals’ evaluations. Evaluations will be 10 percent dependent on school climate and 30 percent on evaluations and observations. The final 20 percent of their evaluations will come from “a combination of achievement gap closure, Beat the Odds, and College and Career Readiness Performance Index data” dependent on their agreement with the state Board of Education.
Changes in teacher and principal evaluations seem to point to the decreasing importance of high stakes testing in Georgia. Although test scores are still a large part of evaluations, the increased emphasis on school climate and professional development appear to be a step in the right direction.
Student learning and growth is notoriously difficult to measure, but placing an emphasis on learning environment and keeping teachers engaged with research about best practices and strategies seems like a better way to set students up for success.