National Teacher of the Year and Waterbury educator Jahana Hayes spoke in favor of a recommendation that the State Board of Education approved that prohibits mastery exams from being used in the calculation of teachers’ summative ratings.
The State Board of Education (SBOE) showed its commitment to students and teachers today by voting to remove state mastery test results from teacher evaluations.
“This is a big victory for students, teachers, and public education,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen. “The voices and expertise of teachers were heard and addressed by policymakers who did the right thing by putting the focus back where it belongs: on teaching, learning, and student achievement.”
The SBOE voted to approve new guidelines that clearly define how mastery tests can and cannot be used. The Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) recommended the new guidelines, which say state mastery test results can be used to inform goal setting and professional learning for educators, as appropriate, but cannot be used as a measure of goal attainment or in the calculation of the summative rating for an educator. Read more
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. Read more
CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg discussed the use of mastery exam scores in teacher evaluation with other members of the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council.
Connecticut’s Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) today acted on teachers’ concerns regarding the use of mastery examination scores in their evaluations. PEAC unanimously agreed recommending to the State Board of Education to continue the practice of not requiring mastery exam scores in teachers’ evaluations for the next academic year.
PEAC plans to continue to work on determining the appropriate use of mastery test scores and examining the current “matrix” used to evaluate teachers.
At today’s PEAC meeting, CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg and President Sheila Cohen held a small group discussion with SDE Commissioner Dianna Wentzell and New Haven Federation of Teachers President David Cicarello on the question of the appropriate use of state mastery tests.
CEA leadership pressed the state’s Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) today to answer a fundamental question: What is the purpose of the state mastery test?
Frustrated that the group has examined the same question for months—with no progress on articulating an answer—CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg told PEAC members, “We’re retilling already tilled soil. What I’m suggesting is that we have to define, as a body, the appropriate use of a mastery test in the state of Connecticut. We need to make a recommendation to the state of Connecticut. We need to take a position on that. If we can’t agree on the purpose of the state test and how it’s going to be used, then we’re lost.”
At today’s PEAC meeting in Hartford, Waxenberg and CEA President Sheila Cohen, who represent teachers on the council, reiterated the Association’s position that state mastery tests should not be used in teacher evaluation. Read more
EDUCATION CONNECTION Professional Development Specialist Susan Domanico, CEA Teacher Development Specialist Kate Field, and AFT-Connecticut Professional Issues and Development Coordinator Jennifer Benevento talked to PEAC about their work with Professional Development and Evaluation Committees.
Collaboration between teachers and administrators is key to shaping educator evaluation and professional development programs to improve teaching and learning and help all students succeed.
Most districts’ Professional Development and Evaluation Committees (PDECs) are collaborating and working well, while others could use additional support. That’s according to survey data reviewed by the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) at a meeting this week.
PEAC reviewed surveys of PDECs by the state Department of Education as well as surveys CEA and AFT-Connecticut conducted of members who sit on PDECs.
The state Department of Education survey was sent out to PDECs in every school district and received responses from 81 school districts and five charter schools. Findings included that: Read more
CEA President Sheila Cohen told PEAC members that more flexibility and autonomy is needed for local districts.
As teachers around the state are writing, emailing, and calling their legislators, asking them to pass a bill to permanently decouple SBAC from their evaluations, the committee that advises the State Board of Education on educator evaluations is still meeting to discuss revisions to other parts of the evaluation guidelines.
At a meeting earlier this month, the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) recommended putting off the use of SBAC scores in teacher evaluations for another year. CEA leaders said this delay is essentially kicking the can down the road as students and teachers deserve a permanent decision on SBAC’s use in evaluations.
This week, PEAC discussed other pieces of the evaluation system—including the number of performance designators required to rate educators and the percentages allocated to different evaluation components.
PEAC members CEA President Sheila Cohen and Executive Director Mark Waxenberg said that the current 1 to 4 rating system isn’t working in some locals. CEA supports requiring a minimum of two performance designators. Read more
CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg and CEA President Sheila Cohen urged PEAC to prohibit the use of SBAC scores in teacher evaluations.
Raising their voices today before an advisory committee to the state Board of Education and speaking up at a legislative public hearing on Monday, teachers are making it clear that the student assessments that count in their evaluations are not a subject that should be “kicked down the road” indefinitely by Connecticut policymakers.
CEA President Sheila Cohen said, “We are operating under a delay in linking almost one-quarter of a teacher’s evaluation to state mastery examination scores (SBAC). State education officials enacted that delay two years ago. Indications today are that they want yet another delay—a stalling tactic that diverts attention from the all-important job of educating our children.”
Cohen continued, “The time is now for quick and decisive action on the SBAC linkage to evaluations. There is no scientific or research-based evidence that such a link is valid, reliable, or fair for the purpose of teacher evaluation. No vendors of mastery examination tests claim their test is a valid measure of teacher performance.”
CEA President Sheila Cohen (at right) and CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg discuss CEA’s new teacher evaluation proposal with Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell at today’s meeting of the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council.
CEA championed people over process at today’s meeting of the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC). CEA President Sheila Cohen and Executive Director Mark Waxenberg pressed education leaders to act quickly and decisively to make the current, two-year waiver from using mastery exam (SBAC, CMT, etc.) scores for evaluation permanent.
“We’re up against a time limit here,” said Waxenberg, referring to the fact that some of the issues that PEAC can address would require action by the legislature, which adjourns May 4. CEA believes that people—students, families, teachers, and administrators—are being hurt by the new evaluation system rolled out in 2013. CEA leaders say it does not translate into improved learning for students and is unnecessarily bureaucratic and a time drain for teachers and administrators.
Cohen stressed, “We do not want to see what is happening at PEAC not coincide with what is happening in the legislative session and go past the legislative adjournment. Then the time we would have had to make substantive change will be gone, and that is not satisfactory.” Read more
CEA President Sheila Cohen and Executive Director Mark Waxenberg shared the Association’s plan to present new teacher evaluation guidelines with the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council at its meeting this morning.
CEA is proposing significant, concrete improvements to Connecticut’s teacher evaluation guidelines based on new opportunity in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that passed the U.S. Senate this morning.
At today’s Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) meeting in Hartford, CEA President Sheila Cohen and CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg, who represent teachers on the council, announced the Association’s plan to refocus state education policy on student learning, not excessive testing.
Cohen said, “Given the numerous issues that continue to interfere with a successful educator evaluation system, teachers—together through CEA—feel it is important to act and take a leadership role in proposing new evaluation guidelines.” Read more
CEA President Sheila Cohen (at right) spoke with other members of the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council about the future of teacher evaluation in Connecticut.
A lot is up in the air for the future of teacher evaluation as members of the U.S. House and Senate hash out new federal education policy this fall. The versions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) passed by the House and Senate don’t require teacher evaluation plans, so Connecticut will likely have increased discretion going forward to make changes to educator evaluation if state lawmakers see fit.
“Regardless of what we want to plan for, a lot is going to depend on what happens in Washington, D.C.,” CEA President Sheila Cohen told other members of Connecticut’s Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) at a meeting yesterday. “Obviously that is going to be the main driver in terms of what our guidelines end up being and in terms of what our mandates are.”
Until a new version of ESEA comes out of Washington, PEAC members are focusing on improving the state’s evaluation system as it currently stands.
Training for evaluators is one area that CEA leaders on the Council have previously highlighted as needing attention, and yesterday PEAC heard from administrators in the Wolcott Public Schools about their efforts to improve evaluator training.