Test Scores Will Be Used to Evaluate Los Angeles Administrators

Teachers across the country are increasingly seeing student achievement data used as a portion of their evaluations, but for the first time, student test scores will be used to assess the effectiveness of administrators, the Los Angeles Times reports. John Deasy, the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, announced that his office has reached a one-year agreement with the administrator union earlier this week that would allow the new evaluation system to be put into practice.

The agreement is one step on the path to meeting the December 4th deadline set by the courts for LAUSD to start using student achievement data — primarily test scores — in determining the effectiveness of the LAUSD's teachers and administrators. Although the pact means that the district's 1,500 principals and assistant principals are now in compliance with the court order, the contentious negotiations with teachers unions, which continue to oppose the use of standardized test scores in teacher assessment citing criticisms that they are unreliable, means that there's still a significant hurdle to be cleared.

Disagreement over a new evaluation system in Chicago was one flash point that led more than 26,000 teachers to walk off their jobs this week.

Judith Perez, president of the 2,300-member Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, was measured in her reaction, saying that although she was pleased with the agreement, its ultimate result "remains to be seen."

Perez said that the one year period will allow both sides to iron out any problems inherent in the system without running afoul of the court order. The court order came as a result of the ruling this summer by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant that the district was violating the Stull Act, a 41-year-old law that requires the use of objective metrics in evaluating teacher effectiveness.

Under the agreement, measures of student performance could include the California standardized tests, district assessments, Advanced Placement course enrollment and passing rates, class grades and other indicators, Perez said.

L.A. Unified's system that charts students' academic achievement using three years of test scores, known as Academic Growth over Time, has been the most controversial.

Although data will be used, its exact weight hasn't been definitively determined. The pact only states that its use be "limited" and that other factors must play a bigger role in the final determination.

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