Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa talks to the media about the decision in the case of Doe vs. Deasy on June 12, 2012. L.A. Unified and its teachers' union announced a "historic" tentative agreement to include student test scores as a measure in teacher evaluations.
Just days before a court-ordered deadline, L.A. Unified and its teachers' union announced a "historic" tentative agreement allowing administrators to use student test scores in teacher evaluations.
Under the agreement, teachers' final evaluation will include student results on the California Standards Test from the previous year or years, in addition to the schoolwide Academic Growth over Time measure. They will also be judged on students' California High School Exit Exam scores, API scores, graduation and dropout rates as well as classroom observation.
Individual teacher AGT scores will not be part of final evaluations or be used to come up with specific performance goals.
Superintendent John Deasy said teachers will be held accountable for improvement by both individual students and their school. "So there's collective and individual [measure], which is a good balance in my opinion of both how the whole school's doing and how my classroom is doing."
The move to factor student test scores into teacher job evaluations in L.A. Unified got a big push Thursday. It came in the form of multi-million dollar grants from the US Department of Education.
The federal agency will give L.A. Unified $16 million to start new teacher and principal training, identify and promote expert educators, and create teacher and principal evaluationa that include multiple measures that include student progress on standardized tests.
Executive Director of L.A. Unified’s Talent and Management division, Drew Furedi, wrote the grant proposal.
“As a former teacher, it was important to me to see how my students were progressing,” he said.
There’s one big roadblock to L.A. Unified’s proposal: its teachers union. United Teachers Los Angeles has opposed using student test scores to grade teachers, saying too many factors beyond their control can affect how well students perform on standardized tests. UTLA hasn’t totally ruled out student test scores in teacher evaluations. The union and the school district continue to negotiate a new teacher evaluation.
File: An empty classroom.
Outside the courthouse, Dorsey High School chemistry teacher David Wu lingered to talk about today's ruling. He has worked for L.A. Unified for five years, initially starting under Teach for America.
"I really wanted a deadline," Wu said. "...I've been in the system for five years and I'm afraid that when July 24 rolls around, the district and UTLA will not actually agree on something that the judge would like to hear."
He said he is "all for" having student performance data included in his teaching evaluation.
"I've never had a job where performance and some type of performance data wasn't tied to my evaluation. It's absurd," Wu said. "Even as little or as much. It's absurd to me. One of my biggest goals to get kids to learn is this test and beyond that test...If it's one part of the multiple measures, I'm all for it."