TALLAHASSEE -- On his last week on the job, Education Commissioner Eric Smith
approved a "value-added" model that will be used to measure student learning gains on test scores. This model will be based primarily on student test scores, though other factors that could impact student performance will be included, such as class size, student attendance and a student's disability or English as a second language status.
This new way of evaluating teachers is highly controversial because it will be used as part of the new teacher merit pay law that ties student test scores with salaries. A committee of primarily teachers, parents and administrators met over the course of several months to develop this value-added model. Smith praised the committee's work in a statement.
"I was very pleased with the committee's work and felt their recommended model would be able to fairly and accurately measure a teacher's performance as it relates to the academic improvement of his or her stuents," Smith said. The committee gave Smith its final recommendation in late May but Smith send the committee back to work to tweak the "school component" that determines how much a school's overall performance impacts a teacher. This new model will be used next school year for teachers of FCAT
courses but won't be tied to salary until 2014.