Advertisement
  1. Florida

Citrus County School Board does away with value-added measure (VAM)

Published Aug. 9, 2017

Hoping to create more clear and understandable evaluations for teachers, the Citrus County School Board unanimously agreed Tuesday to stop using the state value-added measure when rating educators' performance. Citrus is one of the first districts in Florida to take steps to end the use of the much maligned VAM, which teachers have called unfair and unreliable.

Florida lawmakers allowed school districts to take this step as part of HB 7069, the controversial law that included dozens of separate changes to education policy.

"This was one of the things we did hope would come out of the legislative session," said board member Thomas Kennedy. "We tried to jump on this as soon as we could. ... We really wanted our teachers to start the year knowing what the expectations are."

The district began discussing this switch in May, when it became clear that VAM might be on the chopping block. Lawmakers had heard many complaints from teachers who did not understand what the formula meant or how it worked.

By July, the staff had developed an alternative by which all teachers would be evaluated using the same criteria applied to those who did not instruct courses that include state tests. The model includes consideration of student gains, but unlike the state gives credit for children who maintain strong results even if they do not have a higher numerical score on their exams.

Research and accountability director Amy Crowell told the board that more than 20 employees reviewed the proposal, and the response was uniformly positive.

"Every bit of the feedback ... did recommend the use of the district model to replace VAM," she said.

Kennedy acknowledged that the district model does not necessarily give a better overview of teacher performance than VAM. But it is more straightforward and less confusing, he said, noting that a data analysis showed no teachers would get worse ratings for 2016-17 if the model were applied.

He added that the end of VAM is only the first step for Citrus.

"We will improve (the district model) as we go along," Kennedy said, adding that longer term he hopes lawmakers will end the connection of student test scores to teacher evaluations.

Tampa Bay area school districts are looking into the VAM issue but have not yet acted.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Squares from the shirt Tommy Zeigler was wearing on the night of the murders have been DNA tested, supporting his version of events. But further tests have been rejected by courts and prosecutors. Photo from court files. [PARTS OF THE SHIRT TOMMY ZEIGLER WAS WEARING ON THE NIGHT OF THE MURDERS HAS BEEN SUBJECT TO DNA TESTING, BUT PROSECUTORS HAVE NOT ALLOWED FURTHER TESTS. HIS ATTORNEYS ARE WILLING TO PAY FOR THE TESTS. PHOTO FROM COURT FILES]
    Bill would lower threshold for testing, which has limited many death row inmates in their appeals.
  2. Patron vie for beads while attending in the 103nd Gasparilla Invasion and Parade of the Pirates presented by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla on Saturday, January 25, 2020, in downtown Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes]
    Hundreds of thousands flock to Tampa each year for the pirate invasion, but other events across the country cast doubt on the ranking.
  3. Lucky's Market ahead of its St. Petersburg grand opening just two years ago. [Times (2018)]
    Only one Florida Lucky’s Market will remain a Lucky’s. The future of the Tampa Bay locations is still unclear.
  4. “My body, my choice” was the rallying cry on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in the state Capitol, where abortion rights activists decried a fast-tracked bill that would raise the bar for minors seeking abortions. (AP Photo/Aileen Perilla) [AILEEN PERILLA  |  AP]
    Abortion supporters worry about Florida’s move toward parental consent and what may follow.
  5. In this July 30, 2019, file photo, a Super Mario figure is displayed at a showroom in Tokyo. After months of being tight-lipped, Comcast executives on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, said the fourth park at Universal Orlando would be based on characters from Nintendo. [KOJI SASAHARA  |  AP]
    Universal Studios is building theme parks based on Nintendo video games across the world. Orlando is set to get its Super Nintendo World in 2023.
  6. Florida's unemployment rate hit a record low in December. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) [LYNNE SLADKY  |  AP]
    Nearly every major job sector posted gains from a year earlier.
  7. A proposed bill in the Legislature would set a statewide referendum on whether to amend Florida's constitution to add a year to the period when home buyers can transfer their accumulated benefits under the Save Our Homes cap on property assessments to a new home. Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty says going from two years to three would reduce the possibility that construction delays in a booming real estate market would prevent some buyers from meeting the deadline, costing them potentially thousands 
 of dollars in property tax savings. [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times (2019)]
    The bill, the idea of Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty, would give buyers another year to transfer their tax savings under Florida’s Save Our Homes assessment cap to a home they’ve...
  8. Loreen Spencer (left) and Sue Watts, the two newest members of HCI Group's board of directors. [HCI Group]
    “I just wish I had thought of this earlier,” the chairman and CEO said.
  9. Dogs who survived Thursday's fire at a reputable breeder's house in Orlando. [Orlando Fire and Rescue]
    The fire occurred at a reputable breeder’s house, reports say.
  10. Twitter user Mark Kelly (@MarkKellyWPBF) posted a video of what looked like snow flurries in South Florida. [Twitter screenshot]
    This type of precipitation is still out of the ordinary for the Sunshine State.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement