Washington County VA

Should teachers be judged by statewide test scores?

TN Teacher Bill 1-10-14

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. - Should a teacher's license in Tennessee be linked to how well their students do on statewide tests?

That's the opinion and a new rule by the Tennessee State Board of Education, but state representative Matthew Hill wants to reverse the board's decision.

The issue of evaluating the performance of teachers in the state of Tennessee is at the center of an issue involving whether a teacher's license should be revoked because of poor test scores or statistical data involving those scores. The Tennessee State Board of Education recently made a decision to issue a teacher's license based on a statistical estimate of student test scores called the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System.

"For an unelected body like the State Board of Education to put that kind of fear in our teachers, to say, 'We're going to use statistical estimates to determine whether or not you get to continue to have an education career in this state,' I just felt is wrong," Hill told us.

He's not alone -- the Tennessee Education Association that represents teachers also thinks it's wrong. "The Tennessee Education Association doesn't think [it's fair]," said TEA representative Athena Warren. "A lot of people in education don't feel that it's fair."

When the legislature convenes next week, Hill says he will introduce a bill that would change that. "My legislation is proposed to reverse that decision and to put into code that you can't use a statistical estimate to determine a teacher's license. Not an evaluation when it comes to hiring and firing but their license," he said.

"We don't have a problem being evaluated at all," Warren said. "We just don't want things that are out of our control like the TVASS to be a part of our evaluation."

The Tennessee Education Association will hold an open meeting on this subject at Sullivan Central High School on January 27.

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