Montgomery County teachers and school system leaders signed an agreement Tuesday that calls for test scores and other student performance data to “factor strongly” in one-third of every teacher’s evaluation, saying theirs is the first school system in Maryland to specify how much that data will count as a factor in teacher ratings.
The teachers and administrators acted in response to a new state law that allows student test scores to be used as a “significant” component of teacher evaluations. The law is part of Maryland’s proposal for federal education aid under President Obama’s $4 billion “Race to the Top” competition. Maryland is seeking as much as $250 million in the contest, which awards money to states whose applications show the strongest commitment to the president’s education reform agenda.
Test scores have been a part of Montgomery’s decade-old Teacher Professional Growth System, just as they factor into teacher evaluations in many other school districts. But Race to the Top has put school systems under pressure to place test scores front and center in those evaluations and to quantify their role in rating teachers.