Los Angeles schools must soon include state test scores in evaluations of teacher performance. It's been a long battle to get to this point, and the whole effort was nearly upended by problematic legislation that, fortunately, never made it to the governor's desk. But that hasn't ended the debate. On Tuesday, the L.A. Unified school board is scheduled to consider a new evaluation policy that in one way would enhance the way teacher performance is measured and in another would set it back.
In the results-oriented world of school reform, it makes sense to look at student progress as one indicator of whether a teacher is doing a good job. Long-standing state law and a more recent court order demand that the district use results on the state's annual standards exams as part of the teacher evaluation process, which the district plans to do by examining how much improvement individual students have shown over the year under each teacher.
But school board member Steve Zimmer wants the district to consider more than that when it measures student progress for teacher evaluations. His resolution doesn't specify what those additional factors might be; possibilities include periodic assessments through the year as well as portfolios of student work.