As state officials voted to change the way New York teachers are evaluated Monday, they released new data showing that more than 92 percent of city teachers earned an “effective” rating or higher last year.
In New York City, 10.8 percent of teachers earned a top rating of “highly effective” for the 2014-15 school year, up from about 9 percent last year. Most teachers, more than 81 percent, earned an “effective” rating, while 6.5 percent were rated “developing” and 1 percent earned the lowest rating, “ineffective.”
The results skewed higher outside the city, with more than 98 percent of teachers earning an effective or highly effective rating.
This marks the second year that New York City teachers were rated under the new, four-level evaluation system, and the third year for the rest of the state’s teachers. But the evaluations are likely to look different next year, after the Board of Regents approved a plan Monday to create a “transition” evaluation system that avoids using state test results until the 2019-20 school year.
State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia pointed to the results Monday, emphasizing that few teachers were being penalized by the evaluations. But she acknowledged that the evaluation process, and the repeated changes to it over the last few years, have been difficult for educators.
“We have an evaluation system that is in place that has caused this stress in our teacher force and our administrators and across the state,” Elia said.
Last year’s ratings included three components: classroom observations, which counted for 60 percent of a teacher’s rating; state test scores or other state-chosen learning metrics, which counted for 20 percent, and other student learning metrics chosen by the city, which counted for another 20 percent.
City officials touted the results, noting that teacher ratings were more evenly distributed than the ratings statewide. Education department spokeswoman Devora Kaye attributed that “to efforts made to develop a system that is accurate and rigorous, and which emphasizes the developmental aspects of measuring and improving teacher quality.”
Kaye could not say how many tenured city teachers earned a second ineffective rating this year, allowing the city to start proceedings to remove them from the classroom.
Though the number of teachers receiving the lowest overall ratings has been small, the role of test scores in those evaluations has been under fierce scrutiny for years.
A Long Island teacher sued the state in February over the portion of her evaluation determined by student test scores. That score had fluctuated wildly over three years, which she said illustrated deep flaws in the system. The city and state teachers unions have long derided the complexity of the formulas the state uses to determine those growth scores.
Across the state, anger about the role of standardized test scores in teacher evaluations helped fuel New York’s opt-out movement this spring, which saw 20 percent of eligible students sit out the exams in English and math.
On Monday, Elia said the new rules were necessary to allow teachers’ worries to subside.
“We need to move this agenda,” she said. “The constituent groups are very willing to understand that we need to move forward.”
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