Unless lawmakers act, student growth will play a bigger role in teacher evaluations this year

By cori

Students heading back to class this week will play a more important role in teacher evaluations this year.

Last school year, state law mandated student growth had to be a “significant” factor in K-12 teacher evaluations. But local leaders got to decide what “significant” meant in their districts.

But starting this school year, at least half of every teacher evaluation has to be based on student growth. Generally, the proof of learning comes from standardized test scores. Local leaders do have a say in the type of tests and the number of data points.

The state senate has passed a bill (SB 103) that would make student growth less of a factor and delay implementation for a couple of years. Supporters say it gives administrators more flexibility.

The bill hasn’t seen much action in the house. It was sent to the education committee in May. Requests to the committee’s chair, State Representative Amanda Price (R-Park Township), for comment on this story were not returned.

Last month, State Superintendent Brian Whiston said if lawmakers don't act on the bill, he'd bring his own proposal to improve teacher evaluations across the state. But he admits he'd need lawmakers cooperation to change certain things.

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