Testing may matter less in Michigan teacher evaluations under proposed bill

By cori

LANSING -- Teachers could see the importance of standardized testing limited in a bill proposed in the Michigan Senate as the debate about educator evaluation once again heats up in the Legislature.

Senate Bill 103, proposed by State Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, would implement new teacher and principal evaluation requirements beginning in the 2017-18 school year. The bill was the focus of the Senate Education Committee meeting Tuesday morning.

Among the changes in the legislation is a reduction in the percentage of a teacher's evaluation based on student growth and assessment data. Currently, state law requires 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation to be based on student growth and assessment data. The bill would make that percentage 25 percent in 2017-18 and 45 percent in 2018-19 based off the state assessment.

Dr. Paul Salah, associate superintendent of instructional services for Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency, said he liked that student growth would be included in the evaluation, but encouraged lawmakers to not increase its importance in the second year.

"We do not have proven methods of measuring student growth," he said during his testimony to the committee. "It would be my recommendation to keep percentage measuring student growth below 25 percent. ... We must be thoughtful in the process."

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