When the Ohio budget bill (House Bill 64) was finally adopted by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Kasich, it included a very specific provision prohibiting the use of certain value-added ratings in teacher and principal evaluations. This was considered a victory as the ratings would have been based on the now-scrapped PARCC assessments from this past school year and the not-yet-created AIR tests scheduled to be administered this coming school year.
Our initial take on the provision was that it meant that teacher and principal evaluations over the next two years would not include any value-added ratings at all.
In hindsight, and after analyzing the new language in the context of existing Ohio Revised Code, it appears that our “celebration” might have been premature. Take a closer look at the language from the bill again.
Here is the exact language:
Sec. 263.650. (A)(1) Notwithstanding anything in the Revised Code to the contrary and except as provided in division (A)(2) of this section, the board of education of a school district, the governing authority of a community school established under Chapter 3314. of the Revised Code, or the governing authority of a STEM school established under Chapter 3326. of the Revised Code shall not use the value-added progress dimension rating that is based on the results of the assessments prescribed under sections 3301.0710 and 3301.0712 of the Revised Code administered in the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years for purposes of assessing student academic growth for teacher and principal evaluations conducted under sections 3311.80, 3319.02, 3319.111, and 3319.112 of the Revised Code or when making decisions regarding the dismissal, retention, tenure, or compensation of the district’s or school’s teachers and principals.
Here’s my “more readable” version:
The board of education of a school district, the governing authority of a community school, or the governing authority of a STEM school shall not use the value-added progress dimension rating that is based on the state standardized assessments administered in the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years for purposes of assessing student academic growth for teacher and principal evaluations or when making decisions regarding the dismissal, retention, tenure, or compensation of the district’s or school’s teachers and principals.
We already knew that teacher ratings for this year would be greatly delayed (available in the Spring?) after typically being available in November due to the extensive process of creating cut scores for the PARCC and then norming those results to the past Ohio Achievement Assessments. It was also our understanding that, because of the use of the new assessments, this would be a “reset” year for teacher ratings, meaning that instead of the typical “up to three years” of value-added ratings being combined into a composite teacher-level rating, teachers would only have last year’s results counted as their entire rating. This type of “reset” has happened before, but not under the new evaluation system.
Now that the PARCC results are prohibited from being used in the evaluation process (unless a school board and teachers negotiate and agree to use them), it leaves us questioning what, exactly, will end up happening to teacher-level value-added ratings as are calculated by SAS, Inc.
First, since there is still an option to use the PARCC value-added ratings in teacher and principal evaluations, SAS, Inc., must still calculate and release all of the results. The law doesn’t state that value-added data won’t be calculated, simply that it can’t be used in evaluations, or regarding employment and compensation decisions.
Secondly, we know that value-added ratings already exist for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years for teachers, schools, and districts, and that those ratings have been used as a part of the evaluation system for the past two years using the “up to three years of results” process to create composite scores.
This new legislation now finds everyone in quite an interesting predicament. Given the fact that the “reset” was going to occur as a result of the PARCC assessments, and given the fact that those results are now voided by default, it leaves us wondering what, exactly, will the Ohio Department of Education do in terms of reporting teacher-level data.
As mentioned above, value-added ratings using PARCC must be calculated and reported since districts/teachers could agree to use them. For all of those who don’t agree to use them, the reality is that all of those teachers (with at least three years of teaching in value-added subjects) still have two years of value-added data that, according to state law, must be used in the teacher evaluation process.
What this ultimately leads to is a situation where value-added ratings must be calculated in multiple ways for both teachers and principals – a single “reset” year of results using the 2014-15 PARCC tests, but also under the previous method of “up to three years” which, for this year, would include only two years: 2012-13 and 2013-14.
Follow along now…
- Because state law requires the calculation of value-added results, and
- Because House Bill 64 prohibits, by default, the use of the 2014-15 PARCC assessments, and
- Because the teacher-level ratings were being “reset” as a result of the new assessments…
There is no longer a need to reset teacher-level value-added ratings, meaning that the established “up to three years” process of calculating teacher composite scores should be remaining in place and teachers should be receiving teacher-level value-added composite ratings this fall based on the 2012-13 and 2013-14 assessments; a two-year composite score that can already be calculated since those results were already a part of last year’s ratings.
Sadly, what this leads us to is a situation — whether by oversight or deliberately created by Ohio’s legislators — where teachers and principals will still have a value-added rating as a part of their evaluation during the next two school years, but where those ratings are over two years old in the 15-16 school year and over three years old in the 16-17 school year.
Again, the constant tinkering and toying with the very complex teacher and principal evaluation system by those holding seats in the Ohio Statehouse and who clearly don’t understand all of the moving parts has resulted in another big mess that the Ohio Department of Education and school districts across the state will have to sort out and try to implement lest they be found to be “out of compliance”
Meanwhile, teachers and principals can still find themselves in danger of losing their jobs or having their compensation affected as a result of test results that are 2-3 years old, regardless of how much improvement the individual’s students may have shown in 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years (as measured by a cornucopia of standardized assessments).
It is this type of “mistake” that the legislators keep making that is the reason we called for them to “put the brakes on OTES” and take a comprehensive look at the entire system before making piecemeal changes.
Instead, we have one more thing to add to the list of #OhioEdReformFails.