Testing (39524)

The United Federation of Teachers and the New York State Union of Teachers pushed hard for what they felt were “fairer” evaluations.

They might have gotten their wish.

Last week, the state Board of Regents passed a revamped set of rules for New York’s new teacher evaluation system. But the board, which passed the new evaluations in a 10-6 vote, said they would send a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislators pinpointing concerns. The new evaluations include a new system for some teachers to appeal their ratings and a less-restrictive observation requirement for small school districts.

The new state teacher-evaluation system puts more emphasis on how students fare on state standardized exams, which include the grades three to eight tests and Regents exams for high schoolers. The rest of the evaluation would be based on observations by a school administrator and an independent observer, such as a high-performing teacher from another school district.

The Regents proposed creating an appeals process to address aberrations in growth scores. The appeal would be available to teachers rated ineffective on their state-provided growth scores and highly effective on other measures of teacher effectiveness in the current year and rated effective or highly effective on the state-provided growth score the previous year.

Another proposed change would ensure that privacy protections would bar the public release of individual teachers’ growth scores. The Board of Regents is also considering creating a hardship waiver for school districts that have difficulty hiring the outside evaluators required by the new regulations, because of financial or geographic limitations.

The Regents also directed New York State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia to review the entire evaluation system and take input from all stakeholders, which includes classroom teachers.

The proposed changes and the regulations now undergo a 30-day public comment period before it comes back to the Regents’ virtual doorstep.