7 Things to Know About PARCC's Effect on Teacher Evaluations

Adam Clark NJ.com

 New Jersey parents and students may have heard that data extracted from the new state tests in English and math will count in the performance evaluation of some teachers for this school year.

That much is simple to explain.

But how that data is calculated, which teachers will have it applied to their evaluation and how it can affect a teacher's performance rating is much more complicated.

As students across the state continue taking the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams, here's seven things to know about how PARCC affects teachers evaluations.

1. Not all teachers will have PARCC data factored into their evaluations: Teachers who could have their performance rating affected by PARCC in 2014-15 are those teaching math in grades 4-7 or English/Language Arts in grades 4-8.

2. For those teachers, the data from PARCC will count as a 10 percent weight in their evaluation The rest of their performance rating will be based 70 percent on observation and 20 percent on other measures of student achievement.

Next year, PARCC data will count for 20 percent of those teachers' evaluations and observation will be lowered to 60 percent, according to the state.

3. The student score factored into teacher valuations is based on academic growth, not overall performance: Students who take the test will receive a score on a 100-point scale to measure their annual academic growth. It's a percentile comparison of how much progress they have made versus other students across the state with similar academic histories.

A student with a low or moderate score on PARCC can still earn a high mark for growth. This year's growth scores will compare a student's performance on PARCC with their performance on NJ ASK in 2013-14.

4. The median student growth score from a teacher's class is the score that is factored into that teacher's evaluation: So, for example, if Mrs. Smith has 25 students take PARCC, the 13th best student growth score is the one that would count for toward her performance rating. That score is converted to a scale of 1-4 and counts for 10 percent of a teacher's evaluation.

5. If a teacher's median student growth score in 2014-15 is lower than prior years, it won't be counted alone: What if Mrs. Smith's median growth score of her 25 students this year is 55, but her score from last year's 24 students was 75? Since this year's score is lower, the state will calculate the median growth score of all 49 students she taught over the past two years. If the two-year median growth score is higher than her median growth score for this year, the state will use the two-year number toward her evaluation.

6. A teacher can't be fired based on one year of PARCC data: Under New Jersey's tenure reform, a teacher must have substandard, or "partially effective," overall rating in two consecutive years to be in jeopardy of losing tenure.

7. Principals are also evaluated based on PARCC data: Principals of schools with any grade from 4-8 taking the PARCC tests will also have a median student growth score used as a 10 percent weight in their evaluations. For principals, the median student growth score of all students in the school is the score factored into the evaluation.

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