The readers of my blog at louisianaeducator.blogspot.com have asked several questions that I have not been able to answer. I would appreciate very much if you could answer the following questions.
- Will the 10% of teachers deemed to be ineffective by the Act 54 evaluation be determined on a school by school basis with 10% of each faculty deemed ineffective, or will the bottom rated 10 percentile of all teachers in the state be rated as ineffective?
- Since approximately two thirds of the teachers are not included in the LEAP categories of testing, will there be a separate 10% factor of ineffective teachers in these other (NTGS) areas or will the 10% ineffective apply to all teachers as a single group? (I understand that the guidelines will exclude certain positions that do not actually work with a measurable group of students such as librarians)
- How many years do you expect the 10% ineffective factor to be applied? Is it intended to be perpetual?
Superintendent White was very prompt in responding by email with the following answers:
"It is 10 percent of teachers who receive value-added data. And it is across the state, not within the specific school.
The 10 percent is based on an assessment of student learning in classes where the bottom 10 percent teach. So, were BESE convinced that the bottom 10 percent no longer represented a serious drop in student learning, they may consider a revision as with any other policy.”
You will note that while questions 1 and 3 were answered, there is no specific response to question #2. Based on his answer to Question 1, I am assuming that the 10% factor will not apply to non-tested grades and subjects until the Dept. feels that they have developed an assessment instrument that allows for acceptable value-added data to be used with these teachers. The plan submitted to the US DOE states that efforts will be made to create the value-added component for other grades and subjects. This means that for the 2012-13 school year, only about one third of the state's public school teachers will be affected by the mandatory 10% ineffective factor.
I assume this will be done by the state first gathering the results of the evaluations of all teachers that are subject to the value-added criteria, listing all evaluation scores in increasing score order, then designating the bottom 10 percentile as "ineffective" and the top 10 percentile as "highly effective". Everyone in between would be rated "effective".
In the case of all other evaluations, (NTGS teachers) the rating of ineffective, effective, and highly effective will be determined separately. The State Dept. plans to use Student Learning Targets (SLT) in the place of the value-added data for the quantitative portion of the evaluation. See the explaination of this at the LDOE web site. I am assuming that the State Dept. will set the scores needed for each category. For example, in the original plan they used a 5 point scale with a score of 1-2 designated as ineffective and 4-5 as highly effective and with all scores in between as effective.
On the testing issue, principals and teachers are beginning to express serious concerns that the amount of student testing has become extreme, to the point that there is less and less time available for teaching. See the Times Picayune article here about the town hall meeting in St Charles Parish. The concern about testing all high school students with the ACT and the ACT prep tests was also expressed at the Lafayette forum. My readers already know how I feel about trying to make all students college prep. (See also Diane Ravitch's latest blog)