More local teachers fared poorly in evaluations


Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 7:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 7:33 p.m.

While more than 95 percent of classroom teachers in Florida were rated "highly effective" or "effective" under Florida's new teacher evaluation system, about 78 percent of Alachua County classroom teachers fell into the top two categories, according to data released by the Florida Department of Education on Thursday.

The DOE had released the report Wednesday but later retracted it when officials in Hillsborough County pointed out some problems with duplicate reporting.

After a review of all districts, an updated report was released late Thursday afternoon.

The district had 14.6 percent of teachers rated "needs improvement." Statewide, 2.1 percent fell into that category.

Alachua County led the state in the percentage of classroom teachers rated "unsatisfactory" under Florida's new evaluation system.

Of the 2,113 local classroom teachers evaluated, 64 were rated unsatisfactory, or 3.6 percent. Across the state, 0.3 percent received unsatisfactory.

Districts were required to use the value-added model when calculating teacher appraisals. The VAM factors in student performance on the FCAT and is meant to determine how much value or knowledge a teacher has added to a student during the school year.

To keep in line with the state's Race to the Top grant, districts had discretion as to how exactly to use the VAM scores to develop evaluation systems.

In Alachua County, 40 percent of a teacher's overall appraisal was based on VAM scores.

Outgoing Deputy Superintendent Sandy Hollinger said the data is meaningless, attributing the district's high percentage of unsatisfactory ratings to releasing its data later than other counties.

"Other counties have done some level of revision," she said.

She said Alachua County is working to revise its data to produce more favorable results for teachers.

"We are looking at some other components that we might be able to use," she said.

Alachua County teachers have cried out against the new evaluation system because teachers who teach students who don't take the FCAT are still tied to other students' scores.

"There's still the roster element," Hollinger said. "Are these the kids you taught?"

Contact Joey Flechas at 338-3166 or joey.flechas@gvillesun.com.

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