New Haven, Conn.–On Tuesday, the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) decided against including student growth on the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC) in calculating educator performance evaluations. PEAC, which represents superintendents, boards of education, principals, and teacher unions, was created in 2010 to design and refine the Connecticut educator evaluation system. SBAC scores are a proven, evidence-based tool for assessing student achievement growth on a standard measure, a factor PEAC has consistently supported as an aspect of educator evaluations. This decision represents a departure from that position. If this recommendation is approved by the State Board of Education, it would permanently disconnect measurements of students’ achievement growth with assessments of their teachers’ performance.

In response, Jennifer Alexander, Chief Executive Officer of Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN), issued the following statement:

“Today’s decision recognizes the significant value of SBAC assessments in measuring student achievement. At the same time, it fails to include them as a factor in evaluating educator performance on the job. We can do better.

We have very little assurance, based on the outcomes of today’s PEAC meeting, that there will be standard, valid, objective, and reliable measures used to determine how well classroom educators are helping students progress towards college and career readiness. It has been five years, and we have never fully implemented the evaluation system with a link to student achievement growth, and, if PEAC continues in this direction, we never will.

A growing and persuasive body of research and results indicates that districts with modern evaluation models do a better job recognizing successful teachers and identifying those who need additional support. For example, since 2009, New Haven Public Schools have included measurements of student achievement growth in teacher evaluations. Since then, 91 percent of teachers rated as ‘needing improvement’ in 2011-2012 (who remained in the district) received extra support and were rated ‘effective’ or better in the following school year. Similar effects have been observed in districts across the country. Educators agree: Nearly three-quarters of administrators in Connecticut’s System for Educator Evaluation and Development (SEED) pilot districts felt that with sufficient resources, this type of evaluation model could improve teacher practice in their schools.

Students require a quality education provided by effective teachers to be successful as adults in a competitive global economy. This is a critical issue for the future of our state, and, as the CCJEF ruling reminds us, ‘Connecticut’s teacher evaluation and compensation systems are impermissibly disconnected from student learning.’

An evaluation model that continues to fail to connect teacher performance evaluations with assessments of student progress toward college and career readiness standards is one that will continue to fail our students and our state.”

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