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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

If the Florida legislature has its way, fewer teachers will earn good evaluations next year.

From the Orlando Sentinel by Leslie Postal

Florida’s new, complicated teacher evaluation system crunches student test-score data (using a so-called value-added model, dubbed VAM) to help determine teacher quality. It is a required part of the 2011 teacher merit pay law passed by the Florida Legislature.
This year, each district could devise its own plan for what value-added scores equated to what category of teacher performance (highly effective, effective, needs improvement, developing or unsatisfactory). The result was that most teachers did well overall – but there were also some stark differences from district to district.
Now, the Florida Department of Education, as the law requires, is working to set a state-wide standard for how value-added data (test score information crunched through a formula that seeks to tease out teacher contribution) should be used in evaluations. The department’s proposal is in a proposed rule the State Board of Education will vote on down the road.
It’s complicated stuff, and most local educators I touched base with said they haven’t yet determined what it would all mean.
But in Seminole County, administrators said their first take is that the rule (as most expected) would be a tougher one than the district used — so fewer teachers would earn good evaluations and more would find themselves with low marks when the state system is in place next year.
You can find the proposed rule and more information here (but be prepared to read about “confidence intervals” and the like).  The state is holding several workshops this month on the proposal, including one at Valencia College in Orlando on Feb. 28.

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