WV STILL SHORT ON EVALUATING TEACHERS - Weak System Linking Student Performance-Teacher Effectiveness

(11/05/2011)

West Virginia has made little if any progress in adopting a teacher evaluation system that includes student achievement, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Most of the critical policies regulating education in West Virginia are made by the West Virginia Legislature, a body that has shied away from offending teacher unions.

While there has been a national movement to tie student performance to teacher quality, West Virginia has one of the weakest education systems linking student performance to teacher effectiveness, according to the report.

"The disregard for performance in education has bred massive dysfunction and has disastrous consequences for the health of the teaching profession and for student achievement, especially for students most in need of effective teachers," says the report.

West Virginia is among 11 states that does not require annual evaluations for all teachers, or use student growth and achievement data to evaluate teachers, or have a system to fire teachers when they receive unsatisfactory ratings, according to the report.

Across the nation, 32 states and the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) have made some change to their state teacher evaluation policy in the last three years.

"A system that treats every teacher the same or fine isn't getting us the results we need, especially with student achievement levels being where they are," said Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality.

"We cannot continue with the status quo. For a long time states didn't think they could change these [evaluation] policies, didn't think they could make them more rigorous, because there was too much opposition in the statehouse from teacher's unions," said Jacobs.

Under current state law, teachers in West Virginia are evaluated at least two times a year when they are in their first and second years of teaching.

Teachers in their third, fourth and fifth years of teaching are evaluated at least once a year.

If teachers with more than five years of experience have not received an unsatisfactory rating, the state no longer evaluates them at all.

In West Virginia, a study was started in 2009 to change the evaluation system, but so far has been set aside by legislators.

West Virginia has one of the weakest education systems linking student performance to teacher effectiveness, said the report just released.


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