Connecticut teachers say school board puts focus back where it belongs

Students in class (Photo: Shutterstock)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– The Connecticut State Board of Education voted Wednesday to preserve the role of state mastery tests in the educator evaluation and support system to inform goal-setting and professional development planning, but not as a measure used to calculate a final evaluation rating.

Wednesday, the State Board of Education heard testimony about whether to stop using scores from the state’s mastery standardized test to evaluate teachers. The American Federation of Teachers in Connecticut says the SBAC was not designed to adequately measure teacher effectiveness and shouldn’t be used as part of the state’s teacher evaluation system.

“I don’t believe that a standardized test should be attached to a teacher’s a valuation. There are too many other factors that can get in the way of a child performing on the test,” said teacher Stephen Mckeever. “The students are taking tests all the time. And if you’re going to give them one standardized test, that can’t be measured as you go along to show the growth. It’s a snapshot one time a year and that’s it that doesn’t show growth.”

Jan Hockadel is the president of the American Federation of teachers.

“It’s a snapshot in time. We believe that students should be measured over growth over a year or multiple years and not just a snapshot in time because you don’t know what’s happening in that child’s life,” said Hockadel.

Connecticut’s educator evaluation system uses multiple measures, including district-identified standardized tests.

“Teachers are evaluated on a combination of measures which are standardized measures as well as some portfolio kind of measures depending on the goal that they have and observations,” said Commissioner with the State Department of Education Dr. Dianna Wentzell.

“Some of them are standardized test, some of them are district made and some of them or teacher made. And we do believe that there should be a variety of tests to measure the student growth,” said Hockadel.

The Performance Evaluation Advisory Committee or PEAC supports the use of multiple measures of tests for a teacher’s evaluation.

“There’s a lot of factors that go into a child’s life and when you want to talk about educating the whole child it’s more than how did they do on this particular test whether it’s language or math or anything else. The whole child. That’s a social emotional aspect of the child and the physical aspect of the child what are you doing cross the board and all of that has to be taken into consideration when you consider whether or not this child has been educated well,” said Mckeever.

“Today’s action by the State Board of Education affirms the consensus among Connecticut education stakeholders that state mastery tests provide a valid and reliable estimate of student achievement and that they should play an important role in goal-setting for educators,” said Commissioner Wentzell.

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