Cooperstown Central School students in kindergarten through 12th grade began the school year taking tests.
It may seem a little early since they had yet to learn any new material, but according to Superintendent C.J. Hebert, the scores are needed to compare with similar tests the students will take later in the school year.
These students are not alone. It is all part of New York state’s new annual professional performance review. In 2010, New York, along with most other states, adopted the new standards, called the Common Core — the product of a national state-led effort to create learning goals that encourage complex thinking and prepare students for college-level classwork and careers.
Not only do students still have Regents to contend with, but now schools are testing more so there is data to measure growth in learning. The state has been moving toward a new way to improve student achievement by phasing out ineffective teachers using student performance as part of the yardstick for annual performance reviews.
The tests will not just be used to evaluate student performance, but will be used to measure teacher and curriculum effectiveness, according to Hebert.
The Annual Professional Performance Review law and regulations are specific as to how school districts and their teachers’ unions must agree on a measuring rubric for teachers, negotiate it on an annual basis into the teachers’ contract and submit the plan to the state Education Department. Besides teachers, building principals and administrators in charge of Board of Cooperative Educational Services instructional programs will also be evaluated under APPR. Student achievement will account for 40 percent of an educator’s score on the review, and results from the reviews will influence professional development for staff.
The law makes it possible to remove teachers and principals who get “ineffective” scores on their reviews for two consecutive years. Other than the rating of “ineffective,” there are three other rating categories into which teachers can be placed based on reviews: “developing,” “effective” and “highly effective.”