Standardized test scores and other student growth measures are poised to take on even greater significance in Michigan classrooms next fall – if state lawmakers fail to act on proposed legislation before adjourning for the summer.
The percentage of a Michigan teacher’s evaluation that is tied to student test scores will jump to 40 percent from 25 percent currently, unless lawmakers pass House Bill 5707 to stop the mandated increase from going into effect next school year.
HB 5707 was introduced by Republican Aaron Miller of Sturgis and referred to the Committee on Education Reform, where it has languished along with other evaluation changes despite bipartisan support.
Education experts have long questioned the accuracy and fairness of judging educators based on student test performance. In addition, many parents are pushing back against policies that place a greater emphasis on test scores over creativity, problem solving, citizenship, and other important factors in students’ education.
MEA lobbyists have been working with a handful of Michigan House Republicans to introduce several bills to fix problems in the state’s teacher evaluation system.
Many states are backing away from stringent requirements for documenting student growth as part of teachers’ scores in formal evaluations, which play an increasing role in teacher layoffs and recalls.
These changes have been allowed under more flexible rules in the new federal law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced No Child Left Behind.
In fact, several states have backed entirely away from using student growth or standardized test scores in teacher evaluations, recognizing studies that have shown such inaccurate and punitive approaches have not resulted in higher student achievement.