One of AFT Connecticut’s top legislative priorities this session is to decouple student scores on state mastery examinations (SBAC and SAT) from teacher evaluations.  The Education Committee has raised and held a public hearing on a bill we fully support: 

SB 380 An Act Concerning the Exclusion of Student Performance Results on the Mastery Examination from Teacher Evaluations (see link below)

An article in the Hartford Courant on this issue can be found here.

 In order to ensure we have enough votes to JF (pass) this bill out of the Education Committee next week, please contact your legislators today and ask them to co-sponsor SB 380

Use the link at the top of this BFT web page to find your legislators.

Some talking points are below:

 It’s important that teacher evaluations not be based on student test scores.  High quality instruction should arm students with the breadth and depth of knowledge they need to be truly well-educated individuals and develop their capacity to problem-solve, think critically and approach challenges with ingenuity.   Yet, almost one-quarter of current teacher evaluation systems are based on student standardized test scores, which quells instructional creativity, innovation and collaboration.  Much research demonstrates that the value of high stakes standardized testing is limited in its ability to inform instruction and provide a complete picture of student achievement. Standardized tests also do not account for social, emotional and economic factors that may impact a student’s ability to reach his or her greatest potential.

 The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) presents new opportunities for instructional shifts in the classroom. It dispenses responsibility for developing teacher accountability systems to the states and permits the use of student achievement indicators other than standardized test scores; such coursework, school or district developed tests and other diagnostic assessments.  SB 380 takes full advantage of the groundwork laid by ESSA.  It appropriately excludes the use of student scores on statewide mastery examinations in teacher evaluations.  It places instructional emphasis on deep issue knowledge and analytical skills, rather test preparation.