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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Jeb Bush foundation to rate teachers based on multiple years of FCAT data



Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education will rate Florida’s teachers again this year, but with a potentially far-reaching new twist: It'll use several years’ worth of FCAT data. This may sound wonky as all get out, but if you’re a teacher you’ll want to pay close attention.

Last year, the foundation honored what it said were Florida’s best teachers based on a single year’s gains in FCAT scores. That criteria drew criticism from researchers who said one year’s data is too volatile to get an accurate measure of teacher quality. A teacher whose students made gains big enough to propel her into the top quartile one year might fall to mid-range the next year, they said. But if you look at multiple years worth of data, they continued, you’re likely to find some teachers consistently squeeze big gains out of their students (while others consistently squeeze nothing.)

This year, Jeb’s foundation is partnering with the American Institutes of Research to analyze three year’s worth of FCAT data, foundation spokeswoman Kristy Campbell tells the Gradebook. The former governor and AIR researchers are expected to talk about this in more detail at the foundation’s summit in D.C. later this week.

“We think it’s going to be a near bulletproof assessment for looking at gains and teacher effectiveness,” Campbell said. But does that mean last year's formula was flawed? "We’re working on developing the most accurate model for measuring teacher effectiveness," she said. "This is the next iteration of what we’ve done.”

The names of the top teachers are expected to be announced later this fall.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:37am]


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