Connecticut Educators May No Longer Be Judged Based On One Test Score

Apr 25, 2014

Sheila Cohen said that evaluating teachers based on one test score was never the intent.

The advisory council responsible for developing Connecticut's evaluation system for teachers and principals is recommending changes to the guidelines. If the changes are adopted, educators may no longer be judged based on just one test score.

Connecticut approved a teacher evaluation system back in 2012. Under that system, 22.5 percent of a teacher's evaluation would have been based on a single test score. This would have applied to teachers teaching subjects and grades with a state test.

Now the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council, which includes state education officials and teacher's unions, has said that 22.5 percent shouldn't be based on a one test score, but by comparing various assessments over time.

Sheila Cohen, president of the Connecticut Education Association.
Credit CEA

Sheila Cohen, president of the Connecticut Education Association -- which represents 43,000 teachers in Connecticut, and is part of PEAC -- explained the change with an example. Let's say she's teaching estimation, and there are 12 indicators to show a student really understands the concept well.

At the beginning, the student can check off four of those indicators. Cohen said, "By the time I am finished teaching that child -- let's say it's over a year -- the child can now do eight of those indicators, with one single test score, that would still make that child a failure. It would also make the teacher a failure."

Cohen said that considering progress over time, instead of a single snapshot of performance based on a test, is a better measure. In 2012, this system was approved by PEAC, including CEA representatives. Cohen said that everyone at Thursday's meeting agreed that evaluating teachers based on one test score was never the intent.

"There was passionate agreement," said Stefan Pryor, Connecticut's Comissioner of Education. "Teacher's representatives, superintendent's representatives, boards of educations representatives -- they all spoke about the importance of measuring student progress."

Pryor also said he has no doubt the system will continue to evolve.

PEAC will present its recommendations to the state board of education in early May.