NCTQ representative cautions legislators of moving too fast on teacher evaluation

Sandi Jacobs, Vice President of the National Council on Teacher Quality, a teacher reform group, testified before the House Education Committee and urged legislators to take their time implementing any new evaluation system for Michigan teachers.

More than anything, she said time is needed to establish a state data system that can provide consistent and fair information for teachers, administrators and school districts. "This is a high stakes situation," she said. "Any value-added evaluation system should be fully validated before it's implemented.

Jacobs promoted a value-added system which considers student achievement as the primary factor in teacher effectiveness, but does take other factors affecting growth into consideration like student attendance and poverty. For teachers of "non-tested" subjects like special education, fine arts and physical education, she recommends using a goal-setting model rather than test scores.

She claimed that Michigan's current system does not consider student achievement as a major factor in teacher evaluation -- despite the fact that under the "Race to the Top" laws passed in 2009, local school districts and employees must agree to a system that uses student growth data as a significant factor. However, Jacobs was in favor of holding administrators accountable for student growth--not only teachers.