A Busy Week in Edu-Policies

A bunch of stuff happened this week in Ohio’s educational politics.

On June 3, Join the Future noted meandering legislative pieces relating to OTES moving from bill to bill:  “The bill started life as SB229, and was then hijacked by the House, where it effectively died. The Senate then put their version of SB229 back into HB487, and the house rejected that. Then today we get note that a compromise has been reached and put in HB 362.”

The rundown of HB362:

A small reprieve:

  • Accomplished teachers can be evaluated every 3 years–SGMs must stay in “Average” or “Above Expected”
  • Skilled teachers can be evaluated every 2 years–same SGM requirement
  • Accomplished and skilled teachers must still receive 1 observation and conference each year
  • Implications:  This will provide a little reprieve from so many evaluations in the three and two-year time spans, but every few years will more than likely look/feel the way this past year did unless local districts set up some sort of rotation with teachers.  Additionally, I am curious about the process of the observation and conference–does the info still have to be entered in eTPES?  Do they get a rating even in their “off” years?

Teachers on Leave:

  • Missing 50% or more of the school year and/or submitting notice of retirement before Dec. 1 allows a board to opt out of conducting the teacher’s evaluations
  • Implications:  Great, but since notice is coming by December 1 for retirees, won’t they still need a round 1 observation/conference process?  It’s also wonderful that we’re not basing an entire evaluation on one round (as was the case for me this year with a teacher who was on maternity leave).

The Alternative Framework:

2014-2015:   Basically, schools have two options–

  • 50 / 50 Performance/SGM
  • OR 42.5 / 42.5 / 15 Performance/SGM/Extra.  The “Extra” can be either student surveys, teacher self-evals, peer reviews, or student portfolios (ODE will develop a list of approved items for use as these “extra” tools, and districts must choose from this list)

2015-2015:  Basically, schools have the same two options, BUT if they choose option 2, they can adjust the 42.5 / 42.5 / 15 percentages such that the Performance and SGM percentages fall between 42.5 and 50% and are the same.  So, a district could do 43 / 43 / 14, up to 49 / 49 / 2

Implications:  I like that the SGMs are slightly less that 50% in the alternative framework and evaluations could include other sources of feedback, but I’m still adamantly opposed to the usage of SGMs (SLOs, Value Added Scores, etc.) in ANY teacher evaluation.  I have come across NO research, NO valid reports demonstrating the validity and reliability of using SGM data in teacher evaluations.  I can speak from personal experience that the costs of using such data in evaulations far outweigh and benefits (by the way, what are the benefits other than a simple, quick, quantitative attempt to make something intangible tangible?).  This bill is far better than the initial bills proposing even more testing at every grade level over the course of K-12.

 

The second big thing to make its way out this week are the graduation requirements for incoming 9th graders (per ODE, PE was inadvertently left off this document!).  I think everyone’s been waiting around to see what these would look like, especially since so many versions have been floating around for at least two years.  Not surprisingly, they are based on a system of points for end of course exams.

For incoming 9th graders (class of 2018), they must meet all credit requirements as listed below:

 

Image

AND one of the following:

  • Passing cumulative score on 7 EOC exams (or equivalent AP, IB or dual credit exams): algebra, geometry, physical science, American history, American government, English 1, English 2, OR
  • Earn “remediation free” score on college admission exam (such as ACT)  [the bill also requires a college admission exam, such as ACT, to be administered to ALL 11th graders at the state’s cost]
  • Earn credential or license in a vocation AND achieve a passable score on a job skills assessment (such as WorkKeys)

 

Questions:

  • Are we still doing ALL of the tests in Ohio’s New Assessment System (Algebra II, Biology, English 3 are missing from graduation requirements?)
  • Is the cumulative passing score coming next summer after “norming” has occurred?
  • Where is an alternative for the most severely disabled students?
  • What does the qualifier about Algebra II testing mean?
  • Why the decrease in electives?  Because two were taken away with Econ & Financial Literacy and Fine Arts??

I’m really curious about what other questions people are raising.  I’d love to get a list going so I could think my way around all these new policies before the start of the school year–it’s always good to have actual answers for teachers!

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