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State board adopts new regulations for educator evaluations

Posted: December 11, 2012 - 12:02am

The State of Alaska Board of Education and Early Development, meeting Dec. 6 and Dec. 7 in Anchorage, adopted regulations regarding school districts’ evaluations of teachers, administrators and special service providers such as school psychologists.

Under the regulations, districts will evaluate whether a teacher is exemplary, proficient, basic or unsatisfactory on each of seven content standards and on student growth. Administrators will be evaluated on 10 content standards and student growth. Special service providers will be evaluated on their service’s performance standards. In evaluating educators, districts will consider the state’s standards for culturally responsive educators.

Educators’ evaluations remain confidential. Neither districts nor the state can make public an educator’s evaluation. The evaluations do not affect an educator’s salary. Districts will report to the state what number and percentage of their educators are evaluated as exemplary, proficient, basic or unsatisfactory.

Student growth refers to improvement, not proficiency. Growth would be measured from where the students start when they begin lessons with the teacher. Growth would be measured in ways that are appropriate to the students. For example, growth in special education students might be based on the academic goals from their Individualized Education Programs, which are intended to measure growth.

Growth would be measured for educators’ students in the aggregate; each student would not necessarily show growth. Educators would not be held responsible for elements that are beyond their control, such as attendance.

Districts are required to decide on measurements of student growth in consultation with their educators. Districts are required to use two to four measurements of student growth. Only when a state assessment is directly relevant to the grade and subject taught by the teacher would the assessment be one of the measurements.

Measurements of student growth do not refer only to test results or other numerical measurements. For example, for growth in student writing, the data might be a rubric to assess student portfolios, essays or open-ended projects.

For the school years 2015-16 and 2016-17, data about student growth will compose 20 percent of an educator’s evaluation. For the school year 2017-18, it will compose 35 percent of an educator’s evaluation. For the school year 2018-19 and thereafter, it will compose 50 percent of an educator’s evaluation.

Districts also must base the evaluations on observations in the workplace, consider information provided by parents, students, community members and other educators, and provide educators the opportunity to comment on a draft of their evaluation.

In other action, the board adopted regulations regarding the Alaska Performance Scholarship. The new regulations clarify when high school-level courses taken in middle school may qualify for scholarship eligibility.

The regulations also clarify which SAT and ACT college admission test scores may be used to qualify for scholarship eligibility, as well as allow International Baccalaureate courses to count toward scholarship eligibility, just as Advanced Placement courses currently do.

The board also adopted regulations regarding correspondence programs operated by school districts. The new regulations require full-time students to enroll in at least two different core subjects in a semester. The intent is to provide a well-rounded education.

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