The Moratorium Solves the Teacher Evaluation Problem

Fact: A task force appointed by Cuomo has recommended that the state temporarily suspend using the state tests to evaluate teachers because the tests are flawed and need to be overhauled. So, for the next few years (through spring 2018) scores on the state tests will not be calculated into the teachers’ ratings. Sound good? Guess again. Students will now have to take an ADDITIONAL standardized test (on top of the state tests) for the sole purpose of rating their teachers.

In this interrim period, state officials will be creating new state tests, using new learning standards, and a new vendor – a corporation called Questar will be replacing Pearson. Those new tests are slated to be used in 2019.

Even though state officials have admitted that the current state tests are problematic, students are still expected to take them. And teachers will continue to receive a growth score based on their students’ results; a score that — while not officially part of their teacher rating — can nonetheless be used to fire teachers deemed “ineffective” and to place low-performing schools into receivership.

Still confused about what this moratorium means? You’re not alone. But perhaps the most important point to remember is that state law requires half of a teachers’ rating to be based on standardized test scores. Unless that law is changed, high-stakes testing will continue, business as usual.