The group of educators and policymakers charged with revamping how the state grades its teachers will get a crash course Thursday on using student test data.
Under new laws passed in January that helped the state recently win about $500 million from the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top grant competition, more than half of a Tennessee teacher’s yearly evaluation will now rely on how students perform on tests.
The 15-member Teacher Evaluation Advisory Committee — a panel of educators, business experts and lawmakers assembled earlier this year to figure out what criteria should be included in job evaluations for teachers and principals — are scheduled for a round of schooling on the state’s student data system by the company that compiles and manages the information, the SAS Institute.
Per new state laws, 35 percent of a teacher’s evaluation will rely on how his or her students performed on the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System test, known as TVAAS, which measures student growth from year to year.
The board will have to decide what other kinds of tests will should make up the remaining 15 percent of test-based evaluations. Members will also have to choose what additional criteria will count toward the other 50 percent of the evaluation.
The new teacher evaluations will kick in for the 2011-2012 school year.
The SAS Institute currently houses Tennessee’s student growth data and churns out TVAAS reports and value-added scores for the state Education Report Card.
Dr. William Sanders, who developed the state’s TVAAS model, and Dr. June Rivers, both of the SAS Institute, will instruct members of the committee on the nature and breadth of the information available for analyzing student academic progress, said a Tennessee Department of Education spokeswoman.
Lawmakers decided to change the way teachers are evaluated at the urging of Gov. Phil Bredesen, who said those changes would help the state win RTTT, rewarding states that use innovative ways of improving education.
Of the 41 states that competed for a cut of $4.35 billion in grant money, Tennessee and Delaware were the only states to win the grant.