The Maryland State Board of Education says it will continue to tweak an evaluation process for teachers and principals during its second year. Under the first year of the new system, more than 97% of teachers and principals received effective or highly effective ratings. "Beneath the surface of the rating, there are a lot of other pieces working to contribute to those ratings. This is the next chapter of the work," said Dave Volrath, with the state Department of Education.
The Maryland State Board of Education voted Tuesday to ask the federal government for a delay in using exam scores to evaluate teachers. Officials said schools are shifting to the Common Core State Standards, but the exams are not ready. Officials said they need two years of data from the common-core-aligned exams to properly evaluate teachers based on the results. The state agreed to use test scores to evaluate teachers as part of its application for federal Race to the Top funding.
Despite calls for a one-year moratorium on state testing, the Maryland state Board of Education on Tuesday said the state will go ahead with Maryland School Assessment tests this year. The board voted 10-1 to seek a federal waiver to avoid the double testing of students and delay for one year the use of testing data to evaluate teachers. Some educators say the MSA tests -- which do not reflect the Common Core State Standards now being taught in the state's schools -- will offer little valuable information about student achievement, though the annual testing is required under federal law.
The Maryland State Board of Education has updated its school safety guidelines for the first time in a decade -- following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and other recent local and national tragedies. The 218 pages of guidelines encourage local school systems to adopt individualized plans that address several disasters -- natural and man-made -- including tornadoes and school shootings.
The Maryland State Department of Education has instructed nine counties to revamp how they evaluate teachers and principals, saying that original plans do not place enough emphasis on students' scores on standardized tests. State officials said student test scores on the Maryland School Assessment should account for 20% of assessments. Counties have been given until May 15 to submit new teacher-evaluation plans to the state.