Judge Backs Using Student Achievement to Evaluate L.A. Teachers

Courtney Williams's picture
Wednesday, June 13, 2012

In a tentative ruling that could potentially transform California teacher evaluations, the Los Angeles Unified School District was ordered Monday to use students' academic achievement in reviewing instructors.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant upheld contentions by a group of Los Angeles parents that the district was violating a 40-year-old state law, known as the Stull Act, which requires that teacher evaluations include measures of how well pupils are learning what the state and district expects them to know each year. The law was amended in 1999 to specifically require the use of state standardized test scores as one measure.

Chalfant said the law required the district to use California standardized test scores to determine how well students have mastered state-required material. But he gave the district wide discretion in how to measure pupil progress in meeting its own local academic expectations. Which specific measures are used, how they are incorporated into performance reviews, how the different elements are weighted and how administrators are trained in using them "may well be a matter subject to collective bargaining," he wrote.

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