Education News

Texas Delays New Teacher Evaluations Using Student Test Scores

Education Commissioner delays statewide roll-out until fall of 2016.

This school year, many teachers in Friendswood and Stafford will see student test scores as part of their professional evaluations.

Those two school districts here in Greater Houston are part of the state’s pilot of a new way to grade teachers.

But the statewide roll-out is delayed until the fall of 2016.

DeEtta Culbertson with the Texas Education Agency says that’s the decision from Commissioner Michael Williams.

“He would like to allow some additional time for system refinement and also to get some more constructive feedback from the schools and districts and the educators.”

Culbertson says Texas has to revamp how it evaluates teachers and principals because of the federal education law known as “No Child Left Behind.” If not, Texas schools have to face stiff penalties.

Plus, she says, the current system is almost 20 years old.

Still, the change to use test scores in teacher evaluations is very controversial. Many teachers oppose it. And here in Houston there’s ongoing federal lawsuit challenging a similar system.

Culbertson says the state’s mindful of that controversy.

“But certainly we will listen to any construction criticism that anyone wants to bring forth about the new system.”

Under the proposal, 20 percent of a teacher’s evaluation would come from how much their students improve. That includes test scores.

The other 80 percent would come from other measures like principals observing classrooms.

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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