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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Why don't Florida school grades, teacher evaluation ratings match?



"Something is terribly wrong," Florida Board of Education member Sally Bradshaw said Monday during the board's meeting in Orlando.

Her concern? That school grades didn't correlate to teacher evaluation value-added scores. She pointed to materials in the board agenda that highlighted the disconnect.

Alachua County, for instance, rated 99.4 percent of its teachers as effective or highly effective, she said, while just 66 percent of its schools were graded A or B, and 8.9 percent received F's.

"I do not understand how 99 percent of your teachers can be effective when almost 9 percent of your schools are F schools," Bradshaw said.

She suggested that perhaps the evaluation system is not working properly.

Commissioner Tony Bennett responded that the two models - school grades and teacher VAM - are not aligned in measuring the same things. He also noted that districts set their own cut scores for value-added ratings and how they translated into evaluation levels.

If the state can revise the models to get some fidelity between the two rankings, he said, the results should make more common sense.

"When you do that, you actually will see a tremendous drive in school performance," Bennett said. "We are working on this."

Legislative changes will be needed, he added.

Senate president Don Gaetz recently raised similar questions, prompting the teacher union-friendly Shanker Institute blogger Matt Di Carlo to discuss the data relationship. He asserted that the two rankings should not correlate:

"Florida’s school and teacher rating systems are, by design, measuring different things. If anything, an extremely strong relationship between the grades and evaluation ratings might be seen as a red flag that the latter are biased. At the very least, validating one by assuming it must match up with the other is, to put it gently, inappropriate."

Check out his full post for more details. What do you think? Is something, as Bradshaw suggested, terribly wrong?


[Last modified: Monday, February 18, 2013 11:42am]


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