Districts prepare for student tests to evaluate teachers

ANCHORAGE — While this school year is newly under way, district officials across Alaska are turning their attention to additional standardized tests students will take next year to help rank teachers.

KTVA-TV reported that starting next school year, students will take more tests to see how they are performing in class. Those results will be linked to teacher evaluations as part of new state guidelines known as Student Growth Objectives.

“When you add one more piece, there’s always additional pressure to do well, but I think if the kids are your focus, and they’re growing and achieving, and you’re communicating that with parents and you’re communicating that with your supervisors and colleagues,” said Kim O’Shea, a first grade teacher at Turnagain Elementary School.

Students will take the test at the beginning of the school year and again a few months later to gauge the impact of what they are being taught in class.

Not everyone is pleased with the new testing. The teachers’ union in Anchorage says the new regulations take time away from the classroom.

“The amount of time and expense being devoted to evaluations or things to include in evaluation has escalated dramatically over the past couple years — right as we’re having trouble doing things like budgeting to hire teachers or provide electives, fund sports or other things that really directly impact how much a student enjoys school,” said Andy Holleman, president of the Anchorage Education Association.

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Information from: KTVA-TV, http://www.ktva.com

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