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PEAC Acts on Teachers’ Concerns: Mastery Exam Results Cannot Be Used in Evaluations

CEA President Sheila Cohen and CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg, who both serve on PEAC, said mastery tests are not designed for the evaluation of teachers or administrators.

The Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) yesterday took a giant step forward in addressing teachers’ concerns regarding the use of state mastery examination results in teacher evaluations. PEAC defined the clear use and purpose of the state mastery exam, agreeing that it should not be used to evaluate teachers.

PEAC unanimously agreed to recommend new guidelines for educator support and evaluation programs to the State Board of Education. These new guidelines support the use of state mastery test scores to inform educator goal setting and to inform professional development planning, but prohibit their use as a measure of goal attainment or in the calculation of the summative rating for an educator.

CEA President Sheila Cohen, who serves on the advisory council along with CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg, said yesterday’s consensus is the result of much time, effort, rich dialogue and debate, and puts everything into perspective.

Cohen said, “I feel confident with these guidelines. Using assessments in a way that corresponds to their purpose and design provides more ways for teachers and administrators to work together toward innovative goals that improve student achievement. Mastery tests, however, are not designed for the evaluation of teachers or administrators.”

The new guidelines provide a list outlining how the mastery test can be used.

What can the state test be used for: What can the state test NOT be used for:
1.      Informing goals for individual educators Inclusion in the calculation of the rating in the summative evaluation
2.      Informing professional development for individual educators Measure of SLO/goal attainment
3.      Discussion at the summative evaluation conference
4.      Informing collaborative goals
5.      Informing professional learning for groups or teams of educators
6.      Any communications around planning
7.      Development of curriculum
8.      Program evaluation
9.      Selecting or evaluating effectiveness of materials/resources
10.  School/district improvement planning
11.  Informing whole school professional development to support school improvement

Waxenberg said there has been strong dialogue and innovation going on in schools across the state and these new guidelines will help further develop and advance that progress.

“This is good work,” added Waxenberg. “It clears up a lot of concern and sets us in the right direction for the future.”

Cohen concluded, “We are hopeful that the State Board of Education will adopt PEAC’s recommendation at its April 5 meeting so that we can continue to move forward and to improve the educational opportunities for all public school students in Connecticut.”

Watch some of Cohen’s comments at the PEAC meeting below.

Click here to read a draft copy of the new PEAC Guidelines for Educator Support and Evaluation Programs.

Click here to read a statement from CEA.

Click here to read the State Department of Education news release.

  1. John Bestor #

    By delineating eleven appropriate uses for state test information, I hope that CEA leadership did not mean to give tacit approval to these problematic mastery tests that remain unproven, unverifiable, unfair, and discriminatory for any use whatsoever in the profession of teaching and the on-going instruction of students. There is no doubt that the elimination of the invalid use of these measures in teacher evaluation feels like a victory, but other egregious uses of these tests continue to impede student learning and undermine public education. Read (and promote) your own Minority Report from the Mastery Examination Task Force to communicate the many inadequacies and flaws of this statewide assessment practice.

    March 30, 2017

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