The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education today adopted new statewide teacher-evaluation regulations that place significant emphasis on student outcomes.
The system, put forward by Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester, requires at least two measures of student learning when evaluating teachers:
- One must be student gains on the statewide MCAS exams;
- Others could include samples of student work, other commercially available assessments, or tests designed by individual districts or academic departments.
AIM endorsed the evaluation proposal earlier this month, urging Board of Education Chair Maura O. Banta to “support, or go beyond, Commissioner Chester’s proposal for the weighting of student achievement in such assessments.” The employer community believes that reliable teacher evaluation is a key element of maintaining an education system capable of supporting the growth of the innovation-based Massachusetts economy.
Testifying on behalf of the employer community prior to the vote, Henry C. Dinger, chairman of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE), told the board that “one of the greatest challenges we face in providing the kind of education that we want and need to provide to every child in the commonwealth is to make sure that there is a highly effective teacher in every classroom and that competent administrators lead every school.” Dinger urged adoption of the regulations as “a big first step toward this end by including student achievement as a significant factor in evaluating teachers and administrators for the first time."
AIM President Richard C. Lord commended the Board action. “While we might have preferred an even more aggressive approach, the Commissioner’s proposal goes beyond the rather weak recommendations of the task force report released in March, and represents significant improvement over the current situation of uneven and often lax standards – or no evaluation at all,” he said. Massachusetts employers, he added, “who maintain some of the most sophisticated continuous-improvement and employee-evaluation systems in the world, have already begun to share their expertise with educators, and will continue to do so as appropriate.”