Indiana House backs no test scores in teacher evaluations

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Schools would no longer be required to use student standardized test scores in teacher evaluations under a bill approved by the Indiana House.

The 100-0 vote on Monday would repeal a state mandate dating from a 2011 Republican-driven education overhaul that school districts incorporate those student exam results in their teacher evaluations, which are used in determining merit pay raises.

Teachers have long objected to the requirement, and bill sponsor Republican Rep. Tony Cook of Cicero said removing it acknowledges the trouble with measuring teacher effectiveness based on a single student exam.

Democrats supported the change while arguing the requirement should never have been adopted and was a “false promise” that a student test could determine who are good teachers.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

The action comes as lawmakers are also supporting a two-year delay on any penalties to schools from lower student scores on the state’s new ILEARN standardized test.

Statewide results for the spring 2019 ILEARN exam show that 47.9% of students in grades 3-8 met or exceeded proficiency standards in language arts and 47.8% met or exceeded them in math. Those are both more than 10 percentage points lower than the passing rates in 2018 for the pass or fail ISTEP exam.

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