The National Education Association, the largest teachers union in the country, adopted a new policy Monday that for the first time calls for student learning/performance to be part of teacher evaluations.
The policy states: Such indicators must be authentic, reflect that there are multiple factors that impact a student’s learning beyond a teacher’s control, and may include the following indicators or others chosen by a local or state affiliate: student learning objectives developed jointly by the teacher and principal/evaluator; teacher-created assessments; district or school assessments; student work (papers, portfolios, projects, presentations); teacher defined objectives for individual student growth; and high quality standardized tests that provide valid, reliable, timely and meaningful information regarding student learning and growth. Unless such tests are shown to be scientifically valid and reliable for the purpose of measuring both student learning and a teacher’s performance, such tests may not be used to support any employment action against a teacher and may be used only to provide non-evaluative formative feedback.
In a statement, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said, “NEA members have stated loud and clear that they will no longer allow the voice of educators to be silenced and marginalized by people who don’t have a clue what teaching is. This policy statement puts NEA on the record in calling for a comprehensive overhaul of both teacher evaluation and accountability systems and it affords the association’s members the opportunity to take responsibility for ensuring the development, implementation, and enforcement of these high quality systems.”
According to the New York Times story about the NEA shift in policy:
In passing the new policy at its assembly here, the 3.2 million-member union, the National Education Association, hopes to take a leadership role in the growing national movement to hold teachers accountable for what students learn — an effort from which it has so far conspicuously stood apart.
But blunting the policy’s potential impact, the union also made clear that it continued to oppose the use of existing standardized test scores to judge teachers, a core part of the federally backed teacher evaluation overhauls already under way in at least 15 states.
The policy calls for teacher practice, teacher collaboration within schools and student learning to be used in teacher evaluations. But for tests, only those shown to be “developmentally appropriate, scientifically valid and reliable for the purpose of measuring both student learning and a teacher’s performance” should be used, the policy states, a bar that essentially excludes all existing tests, said Douglas N. Harris of the University of Wisconsin, a testing expert.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog