Mixed reaction to new teacher evaluation system

Calcasieu teachers score high evaluations
(Source: MGN Online)
(Source: MGN Online)

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Vincent Caldwell was happy to read his Compass results.

"I get it half from the principal and half from my students' scores," said Caldwell. "My students' scores were phenomenal."

This was the first year of Louisiana's new teacher evaluation system.

Overall, Calcasieu Parish teachers scored higher than the state average.

"Nearly 95 percent of our teachers scored in the effective proficient or the highly effective range," said Calcasieu Parish School Board Compass Coordinator, Johna Rion.

While most teachers made the grade, they said it was stressful leaving 50 percent of their evaluation up to the students.

"These teachers have done everything they're supposed to and they're being judged by one test," said President of Calcasieu Federation of Teachers and Support Personnel, Teri Johnson.

"If the kids are having a bad day on test day then my score will be bad," said Caldwell.

Johnson said rating teachers based on students' growth is understandable, but 50 percent is just too high.

And she said some teachers who rated high in the past were now rated ineffective because of student scores.

But many teachers said the biggest problem is for those teaching gifted classes. If students already reach a high mark, it's difficult for a lot of growth.

"Even though overall they were very good scores, teachers were deemed ineffective because they didn't reach a certain line," said Johnson.

And while the state sets a bar where students have half the say, the Calcasieu Parish School Board offered seminars throughout the year to teachers and administrators to help with the change.

"I think Calcasieu Parish really tried their best to inform everyone and get them on the same page," said Johnson.

"In our school, we have what's called CSI where they train us with the new techniques and technologies and every week we have a new training session," said Caldwell.

Caldwell did take advantage of the seminars, but he also said he will continue to take the same advice he gives his students.

"I tell the students 'adapt or die,' and so that's what I did," said Caldwell. "I had to change things up to get to the new rubric system."

The ratings determine pay raises and tenure.

Teachers deemed ineffective will go through an intensive assistance program.

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