Oklahoma says NO to VAM

A new Oklahoma law will take value-added measures out of teacher evaluations and allow teachers to create their own evaluation criteria. The move comes following an organizing campaign by teachers to get parents involved in contacting legislators about the issue.

Some teachers believe the new law will help stem the flow of teachers from the profession. Oklahoma is among many states now reporting a current or impending teacher shortage.

From a report on the issue:

The good news is the state will no longer require local school districts to use high-stakes tests to evaluate educators—although some districts may still opt to do so, but at their own expense.

“I think we will only have one district in the entire state that will continue using value-added,” said Braun.


Fifty-percent of the TLE involved qualitative evaluation measures, like principal observations. That part will remain intact. Eventually, each educator will assist in creating their own professional development plan for what they and their students need to work on.

“We’re giving autonomy back to the teachers to focus on what they believe they need to work on in their own teaching practice,” said Braun.

Imagine that? Allowing teachers to set their own goals for student learning and classroom performance and then being held accountable to meet those goals. That sounds an awful lot like treating teachers like professionals instead of like widgets that can be measured by data generated in a statistical black box.

Teachers set the standards with help from a lead teacher or principal and then teachers work toward the goals they’ve set in a collaborative environment.

Thanks to this legislation, Oklahoma joins Hawaii among states moving away from an emphasis on the highly-flawed “value-added” system of evaluation teacher performance.

For more on education politics and policy, follow @TheAndySpears



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