Indiana Wants to Weaken Teacher Evaluations. But Why?

Chalkbeat’s Emma Kate Fittes has a story about how Republican legislators in Indiana want to weaken the state’s teacher evaluation system:

In Indiana, districts were left to decide how to implement the vague requirement, so how teachers are evaluated currently depends on where they work. Most districts have made test scores account for around 10% of evaluations, [Tim McRoberts, associate director of the Indiana Association of School Principals] said. Teachers whose grade or subject isn’t directly tied to the state test are often evaluated based on their schools’ scores.

That doesn’t sound like student growth scores mattered very much in most Indiana districts. So how was it actually playing out for teachers? Well, here are the latest evaluation results across Indiana:

Now, you could look at these results and say the student growth scores don’t seem to matter that much anyway, so removing them from teacher evaluation results isn’t a big deal. That’s the optimistic view. The more cynical take is that Indiana is about to get rid of the only truly objective measure in its teacher evaluation systems, the only one that directly measures how much students are learning, and the one that has the strongest tie to future teacher and student performance.

–Guest post by Chad Aldeman