DC Suspends Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations

D.C. Public Schools won't use student test scores in evaluating teachers' performances next year, as the school system adjusts to new tests to meet Common Core standards. 

The school system will put a hold on using the scores for teachers' evaluations only for the 2014-14 academic year, DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced Thursday.

Henderson said the data from the new testing system, PARCC, may be not be available in time for DCPS to generate final teacher ratings by mid-summer, when educators are usually told their scores. For the past few years, 35 percent of teachers evaluations were tied to student-test scores.

“We firmly believe that student learning is a key indicator of teacher performance – and value-added is one of the best ways to measure that," said Henderson. "But we also know that new assessments always bring delays and unexpected complications."

D.C. was among the first school systems to evaluate teachers using tests scores and it has fired hundreds of teachers under the policy. DCPS also offers bonuses of up to $20,000 for top-performing teachers working in low-income schools.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has spent more than $200 million implementing Common Core standards, recently joined the nation's two largest teachers' unions in calling for a moratorium on evaluating teachers based on the tests.

The U.S. Education Department has not backed the idea of a moratorium.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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