As per his agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams has submitted a new teacher evaluation model this week that uses student test scores as one of the components for measuring a teacher's success.
The teacher evaluation system is part of the waiver that allowed Texas to opt out of No Child Left Behind. This week Williams released the final draft of that evaluation, an evaluation that counts 20 percent from students' standardized test scores.
Rob D’Amico with the Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers calls this component a misuse of high-stakes testing.
“It’s been found faulty in research nationwide and even if it’s 20 percent it’s a misuse of that value-added measure, and in fact it allows districts to increase that percentage of using students’ test scores for evaluations,” D'Amico said.
But the other thing not sitting well with teacher unions is who the state used to design the plan, SAS Institute, which is part of a lawsuit involving Houston ISD.
"SAS Institute, the company used to design Houston ISD’s teacher evaluation system, is also the same company used by TEA for the state model," D'Amico said. "But the TEA’s associate commissioner, Michelle Moore, says the two evaluation systems are completely different."
"We’re not running the Houston model," Moore said. "We contracted with SAS because they are the experts in the field. We wanted to make sure we were working with folks that have proven capacity and experience in rolling out initiative on a large school or statewide."
Houston ISD alleges the SAS evaluation system varies too much because of the student test score component. The state teacher evaluation also uses classroom observations and a formal assessment.