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Teacher accountability: other states are beginning to look more like NH

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The New Hampshire Department of Education Commissioner Barry negotiated a No Child Left Behind waiver that avoided in New Hampshire the requirement for high-stakes testing that teachers contend with in many other waiver states.  We’re a local control state, so districts have the high-stakes option, but high-stakes is not policy in New Hampshire.  Now other states are coming around to that policy.

New York changed its policy months ago because it was so destructive to its Common Core rollout.  Now other states are also delaying high-stakes testing until the new standards are firmly in place, removing one of the most important obstacles to success.  Here’s the EdWeek story:

Many states are moving to delay or alter test-based accountability for schools and teachers, as tests associated with the Common Core State Standards head for their debut nationwide in the coming school year.

The changes—some proposed and some already in effect—are also taking place as states consider the status of their waivers from certain portions of the No Child Left Behind Act. Those waivers, in turn, have their own accountability requirements.

more in…Teacher, School Accountability Systems Shaken Up – Education Week.


  1. Rob Tenney says:

    Comm. Barry’s two year teacher effectiveness task force,which included all of the state’s stakeholders,gave her a deep understanding of NH public will and how to best support excellence in teaching. When it came time to negotiate on the waiver, she was well informed.

  2. James says:

    Here is what the waiver actually says (p. 115):

    “For educators in “tested” subjects and grades, those grades and subjects for which there is a state, standardized test as well as a state test in the same subject in the previous year, student growth will be evaluated using Student Growth Percentiles (SGP), and the results of SGP analyses, along with SLO results, will be used in the evaluations of educators in both tested and non-tested subjects and grades.”

    In other words, teachers are required to use high-stakes tests in their evaluations. The DOE has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the development of SGPs and continues to pay for these to be calculated on an annual basis.

    • Bill Duncan says:

      I’m not sure what point you’re making here, James. Tests are not intrinsically “high stakes.” It’s a matter of how they are used. There are virtually no teacher evaluation stakes linked to the annual assessment in the New Hampshire waiver, on page 115 or any other page, though actual evaluation policy is set at the district level.

  3. James says:

    I probably just misunderstood what you meant. I had simply interpreted “high stakes” to mean that the teacher evaluation must include state assessments, which the NH waiver does require.

    • Bill Duncan says:

      The waiver talks of “student performance” which, in NH, is defined as “multiple measures.” In 2015 and 16, the assessment need not be included in teacher evaluation at all. After that, for Title I schools only, the test must be included but there is no minimum percentage. Theoretically, it could be as little as 1%, though there’s no point in that.

      Teachers consider any statewide annual assessment to have stakes because parents and voters see the results and lower scores on the new tests could be misunderstood and used against the schools and teachers. But the NH assessment does not, as a matter of state policy, drive teacher evaluations or student graduation.

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