Southern California Principals to See Teachers' Effectiveness Ratings

Courtney Williams's picture
Monday, October 17, 2011

The previously confidential ratings estimate teachers' effectiveness in raising students' standardized test scores. The district is in negotiations to use the ratings as part of a new teacher evaluation system.

For the first time, Los Angeles school principals will see previously confidential ratings that estimate teachers' effectiveness in raising students' standardized test scores.

Los Angeles Unified officials began issuing the ratings privately to about 12,000 math and English teachers last year and plan to issue new ones this month to about 14,000 instructors, including some who teach science and history.

The scores are based on an analysis the district calls Academic Growth over Time. Taking an approach similar to that used in value-added ratings in other school systems across the country, the district analyzes teachers based on their students' progress on standardized tests from year to year. Each student's performance is compared with his or her own performances in past years, which largely controls for outside influences often blamed for academic failure: poverty, prior learning and other factors.

The school district, the nation's second-largest, is in negotiations with its teachers union to use the ratings as one piece in a new evaluation system. United Teachers Los Angeles, however, has vehemently opposed using students' test data to review instructors. It has argued that the tests themselves are too flawed to be reliable in high-stakes personnel decisions.

L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy has said teachers will not be formally judged on the scores, but observers say he is trying to pressure the union by allowing principals to view the ratings.

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