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Pro: Teachers should take responsibility for student success

By Carolina Astrain
Nov. 24, 2013 at 5:24 a.m.


A student's performance on a state exam should weigh directly into an educator's employee evaluation, some experts say.

There are, however, different ways of incorporating student test scores into the evaluations.

While Victoria school district superintendent Robert Jaklich does not believe the final test score should be a factor, he does think the progress a student makes from one year, also known as value-added, to the next should count.

"One of the things I truly feel strongly about and that I'm really proud of in the VISD is that we all have to take ownership in the successes of our students," Jaklich said. "And yes, we have accountability ratings coming in from us to the state, all of us have our evaluations tied into the value-added growth to our students. How we define that is the million-dollar question."

If the link between student performance and teacher evaluations were to become law, the evaluation system would have to be fair and consistent, Jaklich said.

"How students do is a measure on how we do," Jaklich said. "Because we're not just making widgets in a factory, we have our fingerprints on these kids' lives and futures, and we really have to own that."

The state's new accountability system, which is used to grade individual school districts, includes value-added measures, also referred to as Student Progress or Index 2.

Carol Tippins, VISD associate director of elementary curriculum, said the current evaluation system used to grade teachers, the Professional Development and Appraisal System, will be phased out soon.

Framework For Teaching, developed by the Danielson Group, has been piloted at various Title I campuses across the state, including Patti Welder Middle School and Liberty Academy, for the past two years.

Framework For Teaching uses value-added measures as part of its evaluation.

"It's one of the programs the state is looking at to replace PDAS," said Sherri Hathaway, VISD associate director of secondary curriculum. "This is more than just one observation throughout the year. The principals are seeing a much better picture than they were before."

While she supports the development of a new evaluation system, Hathaway said, the creators should keep a few distinctions in mind.

For example, first-year teachers should be graded on a different rubric than veteran teachers.

"They've usually just come straight out of college," Hathaway said. "It's not their fault. They just have different tools in their toolbox."

Con: Rating wouldn't reflect classroom reality

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