New Louisiana Recommendations for Teacher Evaluation!

Re-blogged from Mike Deshotel at Louisiana Educator.  Please read and respond to the Accountability Commission as soon as possible.  I would also be happy to see your comments and questions mailed to me at

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Finally! Real, Practical, Reform Proposed for Teacher Evaluation

Debra Schum, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Principal's Association has proposed important, practical changes to the Louisiana teacher and principal evaluation systems. Schum is a member of the Act 240 Subcommittee which was established by Representative Hoffmann's legislation to recommend improvements to the teacher evaluation system. The following proposals were introduced at the Act 240 committee meeting on January 5. The proposal is also supported by Debbie Meaux, LAE president, and Steve Monaghan, LFT president, both of whom also serve on the subcommittee.  

I have attended three long boring meetings of this subcommittee so far, and can report that even though the committee has received close to 300 emails from teachers all over the state begging the subcommittee to fix this disastrous evaluation program that is driving excellent teachers out of teaching, up until yesterday nothing of substance had been actually considered by the subcommittee.

Please take action! I am asking my readers to review the following proposals, and if you agree that these changes would improve (not necessarily totally fix) this poorly designed and punitive evaluation system, send an email to the subcommittee chair, Mr Brett Duncan and ask that the subcommittee make these recommendations to BESE and the legislature. Duncan's email address is You may want to refer to this as "the 6 proposals made by Debra Schum for revising the teacher and principal evaluation systems."

The biggest fight on the committee will, of course, be the proposal to remove VAM from the  summative portion of the teacher evaluation. A growing chorus of testing and statistical experts are concluding that because of its erratic nature, VAM should not be used for teacher evaluation. The problem is that the representatives of big business on the subcommittee just love VAM and think it is a wonderful measure of teacher quality.

Note: These proposals may be voted upon at the February meeting of the subcommittee, so please send your emails to the committee before Feb. 2. Here is Will Sentell's article describing movement by the LDOE on the override provision.

Proposed Changes to Teacher and Administrator Evaluation

  1.   Recommend removal of the override provision that allows an Ineffective rating on either the quantitative or the qualitative portion of the evaluation to result in an overall ineffective rating. 
Rationale: The override rule is not provided for in state law.  This is a policy described in BESE bulletin 130, Section 309-C. Teachers and principals have complained that such a policy is unnecessary and may result in an inaccurate evaluation.

2.     Recommend that BESE suspend indefinitely the use of VAM for the quantitative component of the teacher evaluation.
Rationale: The instability of VAM formula does not support the use of VAM in the evaluation process.  In addition, the American Statistical Association has recommended against the use of VAM for teacher evaluation.

3.     Bulletin 130 policy should specify that Student Learning Targets be determined by consultation between each teacher and his/her immediate supervisor.
Rationale: Present LDOE policy allows Student Learning Targets to be set by district level administrators. Such a practice may not properly consider the student level variables and classroom composition variables. This recommended change would give proper consideration to site based decision making by each school principal.

Recommend that BESE Bulletin 130 be amended to specify that student learning targets should be set by consultation between the evaluatee and his/her immediate supervisor.

4.     All quota systems or mandatory percentages at each level of proficiency should be removed from the teacher and administrator evaluation systems.
Rationale: In the past, the LDOE has attempted to set certain quotas for effective and ineffective teachers based primarily on VAM scores.  For example, there were quotas of 10%  “ineffective” and 20% “highly effective”. Such quotas are purely arbitrary and are not based on evidence or studies of the Louisiana teaching force. In addition, it does not allow for improvement over a period of years as educators grow within the evaluation system.
5.     Recommend that a special committee of experienced teachers and administrators be appointed to recommend changes to the COMPASS rubric that would provide for different criteria for teachers of various specialties.  The elements of the evaluation should take into account the job description for each specialty. In addition the committee should be allowed to modify the rubric or observation form for teachers to allow for different learning and teaching styles that can result in effective instruction, and which do not force the teacher to use only one method of instruction.
Rationale: The present COMPASS rubric is not appropriate for some teaching or professional specialties and does not provide sufficient flexibility for various lessons and learning opportunities.

6.     Recommend that Principals should be given the option of only having to complete one Compass Observation if the teacher scores effective proficient or highly effective on the first observation.
Rationale:  This would allow principals to provide more coaching time to those teachers who have not achieved the proficient or highly effective ratings.

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