Tennessee Education Association

Great Public Schools for All Students


Why TEA’s Position on TVAAS has Changed From the First-to-the-Top Discussions in 2009-10

When Tennessee applied for Race to the Top money in 2010, TEA was part of the conversation on how a new teacher evaluation would be implemented. Unfortunately, the agreements made with the former administration and commissioner of education have not been honored by Commissioner Huffman and Gov. Haslam.

TEA agreed to include TVAAS in evaluation based on these agreements:

  • School-wide data would be used only for administrator evaluations, not for teachers.
  • Personnel decisions would remain the purview of the local school board apart from state-level mandates.
  • The 15% component of the evaluation would be designed to balance the impact of standardized test data, and would include a variety of legitimate options for educators.

The implementation around the use of TVAAS in teacher evaluation has not honored the original stakeholder agreements:

  • There was no discussion of forced correlation between observation scores and TVAAS results in educator evaluations.  This factor completely corrupts the original agreement to include multiple measures.
  • It was not disclosed that TVAAS estimates can change in subsequent years, impacting 3-year averages.
  • The volatile nature of TVAAS data was never explained, nor the standard errors included.
  • Efforts to develop alternate methods to measure student achievement in non-tested areas have been abandoned. As a result, most Tennessee teachers are evaluated on students they never instruct or subjects they do not teach.
  • State policy has tied the hands of local school districts in making tenure and employment decisions.

For the reasons listed above, TEA is working closely with elected officials to pass legislation prohibiting the use of standardized test scores for high-stakes personnel decisions. Members of TEA’s leadership team are traveling across the state to introduce our campaign to fight the inappropriate use of TVAAS estimates in high-stakes decisions. Please visit the TEA calendar to find a road trip event near you.

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