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WVEA president: Right decision made regarding test scores on evaluations

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WVEA president: Right decision made regarding test scores on evaluations
By Shauna Johnson, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The president of the West Virginia Education Association is applauding a recent decision from the state Board of Education that will keep student standardized test results from being used in evaluations of the Mountain State’s teachers.

“The standardized test is a single snapshot. It’s a one day snapshot of what that student is doing,” argued Dale Lee of the testing requirement that ran into opposition nationally.

Instead, more weight will be given to measures of student growth that teachers themselves set.

“Under the design of the student growth model, teacher-designed, it has to be rigorous, it has to have two points of time and has to be able to be transferred across curriculum,” Lee said during an appearance on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

Last December, President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law as a replacement for No Child Left Behind. The new law lifted requirements for teacher evaluation systems based, in part, on student test scores from Smarter Balanced Assessment testing.

The action of the West Virginia Board of Education brings West Virginia in line with the law.

Specifically for English and math teachers, test scores could have made up 15 percent of a teacher’s evaluation in West Virginia while school-wide results would have accounted for five percent of all teacher evaluations, even at elementary schools where testing does not begin until the 3rd grade.

In general, at least for the short-term, 20 percent of teacher evaluations will come fully from improvements in student learning goals, as set by teachers, while 80 percent will be determined by school administrators with input from individual instructors.

As for the student growth models, “You have to do something that’s realistic and you have to do something that’s actually showing your growth and you’re using it to help design or help influence your curriculum and your teaching and the things you’re doing,” Lee explained.

“As a math teacher, I might say that 75 percent of my students are going to increase by at least ten points, ten percent on acuity. So that gives you a clearer model of what growth actually is happening in the classroom.”

Results from Smarter Balanced Assessment Testing are still going to be used to evaluate schools and those test scores remain factors in the A-F grades schools will receive for the first time this fall.