Effects of student test scores on teachers

Even before the rules making student achievement part of teacher evaluations take effect, the legislative study committee on education is proposing to reduce the amount student test scores play in those evaluations.

The system was created by the legislature in an effort to weed out teachers who aren’t performing well and achievement was made fully half of the evaluation score.

Assemblyman Elliott Anderson, D-Las Vegas, proposed that be reduced to 40 percent.

But he accepted a suggestion by committee Chairman, Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, D-Henderson, to sunset that reduction in 2017.

Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, R-Las Vegas, said he would support the proposal but with reservations.

“I’m a little concerned the public will see this as we’re getting soft again,” he said.

Anderson said with so much else going on in education including the new Common Core Standards and end of class testing instead of a final proficiency exam for graduation, implementation of the new evaluation system has already been delayed. He said this change would give educators and lawmakers more time to see how the other changes play out.

In addition, he panel voted to send a letter calling on school districts to lengthen the school day. Several members said they believe studies show that more time in the classroom translates to better educated students.

“I really like the idea of having the school boards lengthen the school day,” said Sen. Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas. “Not just a longer school day but a longer school year if I had my way.”

Woodhouse said the obvious problem is the cost of doing so but she too agreed the issue should be looked at.

The committee agreed to propose legislation that collects more demographic information about students eligible for free or reduced lunch benefits including their graduation and drop out rates, achievement and proficiency compared to the general population and the numbers, race and heritage of those students.

The panel was told most districts are already collecting that type of information about their students.

Those and other regulations will be presented to school boards, the state Department of Education and the 2015 Legislature in January.


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