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Emily Nell came back to teach art and make an impact after spending 14 years as an independent artist working in schools and holding benefit auctions.
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Act 13 of 2020 and the 22 Pa Code Chapter 19 regulations revised
An effective educator is key to student success, and every student deserves to have high-quality educators in their schools and classrooms.
Administrators and educators agreed that the Act 83 evaluation system wasn’t working. That system didn’t support the continuous improvement of educators in their practice and professionalism as promised in 2012, because it:
Sen. Ryan Aument and Rep. Jesse Topper engaged PSEA and other stakeholder groups in a deliberative process that made significant improvements to the evaluation system.
Under Act 82 of 2012, student performance components, based in part on standardized test results, accounted for 50 percent of an educator’s evaluation, while observation and practice accounted for the other 50 percent.
Act 13 realigned those weights, basing 70 percent of an classroom teacher’s evaluation on observation and practice and 30 percent on student performance components. Building level scores, which make up 10 percent of student performance, are adjusted by a ‘challenge multiplier’ that begins to account for the effects of economic disadvantage on student performance.
By reducing the impact of standardized tests and student performance components, increasing the focus on observation and practice, and taking the first step to recognize poverty's impact on achievement, PA is beginning to improve the evaluation system.
Act 13 and Chapter 19 revise Student Performance Data into three categories: (1) Building Level Score, (2) Teacher-Specific Data, and (3) LEA-Selected Measures.
BUILDING LEVEL SCORE:
The building level score component of student performance data is simplified and makes up no more than 10 percent of an educator’s evaluation. This score mitigates several indicators from the School Percentage Profile (SPP), particularly those that unfairly penalize employees in struggling schools. This new score is based on student standardized test scores, student growth (PVAAS), graduation rates, and attendance rates. The building level score is also adjusted by a ’challenge multiplier‘ based on the population of economically disadvantaged students in school building partially account for the strong correlation between poverty and student performance.
The new teacher-specific data component of student performance data is simplified and makes up no more than 10 percent of a classroom teacher’s evaluation. It includes student standardized test scores, student growth (PVAAS), and IEP goal progress.
The LEA-Selected Measures component of student performance data takes the place of the former Elective Data (student learning outcome) component. These measures make up no more than 10 percent of an annual rating and no more than 30 percent of an interim rating. While Chapter 19, no longer refers to these measures as student learning outcomes, the list of possible measures remains unchanged.
Act 13 and Chapter 19 take a step forward in recognizing the impact that student poverty has on student achievement. The legislation adjusts the building-level score by a ’challenge multiplier‘ based on the population of economically disadvantaged students in each school building. This partially accounts of the strong correlation between poverty and student performance.
Poverty affects students well beyond the classroom, often hampering their health and well-being, language development, and access to books and learning opportunities. Students living in poverty often score lower on standardized tests and have lower average graduation and attendance rates than students in middle-income and more affluent districts.
If Pennsylvania is going to continue to use student performance data in educator evaluations, the Commonwealth must control for factors beyond the control of educators and students. These bills take an important first step in acknowledging the relationship between poverty and student perfomance.
In addition to the components above, educators have identified other important adjustments that we believe improve the evaluation system. Sen. Aument and Rep. Topper’s legislation, now Act 13, took this input into account and addressed key issues that improve the system overall.