In a low-stakes year, NYC teachers excel on growth scores

New York City teachers earned top growth scores more than twice as often as those in the rest of the state, according to data the city released today.

While scores plummeted on state tests that were tied to new Common Core standards, the teacher ratings reflected growth scores, which compare similar students from last year and this year and controls for changes in the test, said Department of Education spokeswoman Erin Hughes. The release comes less than three months after the city published growth scores for the 2011-2012 school year.

Eleven percent of city teachers earned a “highly-effective” on their growth scores, the highest of four ratings. That’s up three percentage points from 2011-2012 and double the percentage of teachers outside of the city. The rate of ‘ineffectives,’ the lowest score that can be used to seek termination, fell from six percent to four percent.

The growth scores, which account for 20 percent of an overall evaluation rating, are still low stakes for city teachers. New York City was the only district in the state that failed to implement an evaluation plan during the 2012-2013 school year and is implementing its plan this year.

“Our teachers worked hard — without the support or curriculum they were supposed to have last year — and their hard work needs to be recognized,” said the city’s teachers union President Michael Mulgrew. “So while it is nice to see these trends going up, the fact is that scores alone — particularly those based on a single exam — are not a good measure of either students or teachers.”