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Student Test Scores Part of Teacher Evaluations Under Tentative Deal

A preliminary agreement between LAUSD and the teacher union would take into account how students perform on standardized tests.

Just days ahead of a court-ordered deadline, the Los Angeles Unified School District and its teachers' union announced a tentative agreement Friday on a system that relies heavily on classroom observation to evaluate teachers' performance, but also incorporates students' performance on standardized tests.

"We've reached a historic agreement with UTLA (United Teachers Los Angeles) that will improve the way we undertake certificated evaluations and honors their core purpose: to improve the practices of teaching and to assure accountability in meeting standards of the teaching profession,'' LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy said.

UTLA President Warren Fletcher said he was pleased the agreement "rejects the use of individual AGT (Academic Growth Over Time) scores as part of a teacher's final evaluation.''

"This is significant because these scores have been found to be an unreliable method of measuring a teacher's effectiveness,'' he said. "Initial planning conferences, which establish a teacher's performance objectives for the coming year, would include `multiple measures of student achievement,' including raw data from the state-mandated CST (California Standards Test).''

The tentative agreement, which still needs the approval of the LAUSD Board of Education and the membership of UTLA, was announced ahead of a scheduled Tuesday court hearing on a lawsuit over the district's teacher-evaluation system.

The lawsuit contends the district has not been complying with the Stull Act, a 1999 law requiring student progress to be incorporated into teachers' evaluations. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant set a Tuesday deadline for the district to come up with a viable system.

"This agreement strikes a balance that is much needed in the country right now in terms of using student measures of academic progress as both a vehicle to improve instruction, and to hold us accountable for the achievement of students in our schools,'' Deasy said.

According to the district, the biggest factor in teacher evaluations would be "a robust classroom observation process.'' But other factors, including a school's AGT scores, California High School Exit Exam passage rates, Academic Performance Index scores, attendance and suspension rates, would be used as "important but limited factors in an overall performance evaluation.''

The district noted that student achievement measures would not be the primary evaluation factor, but would be "significant.''

"This agreement, in the end, is designed to help how our teachers and other certificated staff meet the needs of our students so they can graduate college and career ready,'' Deasy said.

What do you think of the agreement? Tell us in the comments.

Deborah Lashever January 12, 2013 at 09:09 PM
More testing means less learning. We are already doing WAY too much testing! Look at Finland--who now is top in the world in academics--they do not try for excellence anymore, just a well rounded education for everyone--and they are NUMBER ONE!! Why don't we take a lesson from them instead of trying to fix our public education system that was formed SCIENTIFICALLY by Industrialists and Social Darwinists--not Educators--in the early 1800's to dumb us down and make us good little workers and consumers? Look how well it is working! We are now well below Rwanda in many subjects! NO! No more testing! No more regurgitating little teeny facts that you will never, ever think of in your life again! We have the internet now that we can find out all these facts--like what General won what battle in what year of the Civil War--we don't need to waste years and years of children's lives on crap like that. HOMESCHOOL, people! Form a multi-family support group and make sure your kids are getting a REAL education and are thinking FOR THEMSELVES! Read John Taylor Gatto's book, "Dumbing us Down" for all the facts and footnotes you need. Do your homework, parents! It is your kid's future and the future of our country and planet that is at stake. We have been asleep and giving our power away for far too long! WAKE UP! Read the book and then decide. What could be more important?

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