New Tests Will Affect Teacher Evaluations

Jun 16, 2014

Public school students will be held to higher standards next year under the Georgia Milestones assessments. But teachers will also receive a score based on the test results.

The Teacher Keys Effectiveness System, or TKES, is the state’s new teacher evaluation system. It was developed as part of Georgia’s federal Race to the Top grant. Under TKES, half of a teacher’s annual evaluation will be based on student progress. But state testing director Melissa Fincher says teachers aren’t graded on students’ raw scores.

Students' growth on the Georgia Milestones assessment will be part of teachers' yearly evaluations.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

“One of the important things to remember is that we’re not looking at a gain score,” Fincher says. “So, we’re not subtracting last year’s score from this year’s score. That would be a little biased, especially for low-achieving students.”

Instead, the system measures growth by comparing students with similar academic histories.

“If you’re a high-achieving student, then you’re compared to other high-achieving students,” she says. “And your growth is relative to students like you. And that way, it’s inherently fair. And all students, regardless of whether they’re high or low achieving, can demonstrate growth.”

Fincher says officials will take a cautious approach next year since they are implementing a brand new testing system. She says the idea is to track student progress, not penalize teachers.

The evaluations will also include observations and other benchmarks