January 30, 2020

Could Removing Test Scores From Evaluations Help Indiana Recruit More Teachers?

Article origination IPBS-RJC
A teacher listens to student questions during an in class project in Kokomo. - Zach Herndon/WTIU

A teacher listens to student questions during an in class project in Kokomo.

Zach Herndon/WTIU

A proposal to separate student test scores from teacher evaluations at the state level is making progress through the legislature, and the state’s largest teachers union says it could draw more young people to the profession. 

Indiana teachers have long pressed for the state to remove requirements that student test scores be used in their evaluations and this year, it seems like lawmakers are on board. A bill to nix the requirement already passed the House – and won unanimous approval. 

It still has to survive through the Senate, but Indiana State Teachers Association President Keith Gambill says if the bill becomes law, it could help boost the shrinking pipeline of future teachers.

“To get more to say ‘yeah let’s take a look at education as my career,’” he says.

A recent report shows enrollment in teacher preparation programs is drastically lower than 10 years ago. 

Gambill says since test scores started being used in evaluations, educators have felt increased pressure to teach to the test, especially since it can impact an educator’s paycheck.

He says it changed the way teachers approached their jobs and worked with students.

“Everything shifted to one point in time: how did students do on this day on this test?” he says. 

Some opponents to the bill say removing the requirement could weaken efforts to hold educators accountable for student outcomes. But schools would still have the power to locally decide how they use test scores in teacher evaluations. 

The legislative session is set to end in early March.

Contact Jeanie at jlindsa@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.

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