NEA wins delay on use of student test scores in teacher evaluations

The U.S. Department of Education is giving states until the 2015-16 school year-a two-year delay-to use student test scores for teacher evaluations. Education Secretary Arne Duncan made the announcement after more than a year of NEA and other education groups calling for such action.

NEA President-elect Lily Eskelsen-Garcia said, "There is increasing evidence that the collision between old and new standards and assessments with already flawed evaluation systems are fraught with pitfalls and dangerous consequences for student learning and growth-especially when these systems are developed hastily with too much external pressure and too little time for collaboration. It is just common sense to allow a moratorium on high-stakes consequences of test scores."

States requesting the delay must still continue to collect student growth data to share with teachers and be committed to using student growth scores in its teacher evaluation systems.

Here in Michigan, we may be ahead of the game. PA 257 of 2014 (SB817) sets the 2015-16 school year as the start date for the requirement that 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation be based on student growth. It also delays the implementation of any statewide evaluation system for teachers and administrators until the 2015-16 school year.

And HB 5223 and HB 5224-the evaluation bills waiting for action in the Senate-provide for the use of multiple locally-developed tools to measure student growth in addition to a statewide assessment. This limits the impact of just using a standardized test.