Teachers in East Baton Rouge Parish during the 2011-12 school year performed better than their peers in the rest of Louisiana during a test run of the state’s new teacher evaluation system, specifically the part that relies solely on student standardized test scores.
In a presentation Thursday night to the parish School Board, Liz Frischhertz, chief accountability officer for the school system, summarized the results from the “2011-12 Value Added Model Pilot.”
More than 10 percent of East Baton Rouge Parish teachers participating were judged “highly effective” compared with less than 9 percent statewide. Less than 4 percent of parish teachers ranked in the bottom “ineffective” category; double that number, more than 8 percent, were rated “ineffective” statewide.
“We’re ahead in the categories we want to be ahead in,” Frischhertz said.
She said the results confirm that the school system employs many good teachers.
After the presentation, Frischhertz said the model follows a bell curve, which under a normal distribution, you would expect 10 percent of teachers to be “highly effective” and 10 percent to be “ineffective.” She cautioned that it’s just a pilot study and the results could have a notable margin of error.
The pilot study dealt with teachers whose students took state standardized tests in grades four to eight and took Algebra 1 and geometry in the ninth grade.
Using a complicated formula, students are judged by whether students earn the equivalent of a year’s worth of academic growth in a year’s time or better.
The growth is judged as the “value added” by the teacher to a student’s learning, once a variety of factors are controlled for.
Frischhertz said the teachers who participated in the pilot represent about 20 percent of teachers on the job in the school system. Value-added scores could not be generated for a small number of teachers who were otherwise eligible for the study, such as those who had fewer than 10 students in their classes.
It wasn’t clear Thursday how many districts participated in the value-added pilot study. The state Department of Education website said 20 of Louisiana’s 70 school districts participated in the pilot, including some charter schools, but an accompanying list named only 18 participating districts.
Barry Landry, a spokesman for the state Department of Education, said he’s not aware of any plans to release more results from the pilot.
Frischhertz said that at her request back in August the state sent her the results for East Baton Rouge Parish and for all of the participating districts collectively, but that’s it.
“I would like to be able to see results for individual parishes so we could compare,” she said.
Other results for East Baton Rouge Parish teachers from the pilot study show that more than 61 percent of parish teachers were in the top two categories of “highly effective” and “effective proficient,” compared to just more than 50 percent statewide.
Starting in 2013-14, low results on the new evaluation system could be grounds for a teacher losing tenure or being fired.