Share This

VAM promises a long and bumpy road

LFT President Steve Monaghan objects to implementing the new teacher evaluation model.

As expected, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education rammed through, with very little debate, a new teacher evaluation system heavily skewed toward a Value Added Model on Tuesday (December 6).

Not that there wasn't objection. As this Associated Press article points out, there were plenty of reasonable objections made by expert teachers and their organizations. The lack of debate was on BESE's side - like obedient children, they did as they were told and approved the new model.

As LFT President Steve Monaghan said, there are significant reasons to question the evaluation tool and its scoring methods, as well as the grievance procedure approved by BESE. Those will be revealed in detail in the coming weeks and months.

But just as a pre-Christmas appetizer, consider these issues.

The algorithm used to determine teacher scores has not been revealed. But based on reports from other VAMs, it is possible that one in three evaluations will not be accurate because the margin of error is extraordinarily high.

No procedure has been produced for a teacher to appeal a VAM score.

The Value Added Model will only apply to one-third of all teachers, those who teach courses measured by standardized tests. All others - two-thirds of our teachers - will apparently be evaluated by a double set of subjective evaluations, which are still to be determined but will go into effect next school year.

Even the new system's supporters agreed that there will be significant problems with the new system. That may prove to be the understatement of the month.