LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The L.A. Unified School District and its teachers union announced a tentative agreement Friday to begin using student test scores to evaluate instructors.

KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero reports that it’s taken five months of bargaining to reach this landmark decision.

The agreement comes just days before a court-ordered deadline requiring the district to base teacher evaluations on student performance, as outlined in the Stull Act.

This is the first time that LAUSD and teachers have agreed to this kind of a review system.

“We’ve reached a historic agreement with UTLA that will improve the way we undertake certificated evaluations and honors their core purpose: to improve the practices of teaching and to assure accountability in meeting standards of the teaching profession,” said LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, who’s actively supported using student test scores in teacher performance reviews since he assumed his position a year and a half ago.

The LAUSD, the nation’s second-largest school district, would join Chicago and other cities in adopting this evaluation system.

During the discussion, both sides agreed that student test scores would count for less than 50 percent of a teacher’s score. Teachers would be evaluated every other year. Teachers with more than 10 years of experience would be reviewed every three or four years.

“This agreement strikes a balance that is much needed in the country right now in terms of using student measures of academic progress as both a vehicle to improve instruction, and to hold us accountable for the achievement of students in our schools,” Deasy said.

The agreement will only take effect if ratified by United Teachers Los Angeles. Many teachers have objected to using test scores in their evaluations, claiming they are an unreliable way of assessing their performance.

UTLA President Warren Fletcher said he was happy with the agreement.

“Quite often…test scores are used in order to create some sort of quick and dirty number that can be applied to a teacher the same way a restaurant score is attached to a restaurant — and teaching is a complex activity. We wanted to make sure to negotiate a system that uses the data intelligently,” Fletcher said.

The union is continuing to hold talks with the district over other issues.


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