20191112_MET_HANO_DH01

During a Veterans Day ceremony at Washington-Henry Elementary school in Mechanicsville, WWII veteran James Wallace Yarbrough is presented an honorary diploma by school principal Lisa Thompson (right) and Hanover superintendent Dr. Michael Gill (left). Yarbrough was called away from the former Washington-Henry high school during his senior year in 1944 to join the Army.

Virginia's education leaders have approved another change that takes emphasis away from test scores.

The state Board of Education last week overhauled teacher evaluations, lessening the weight of standardized tests on a teacher's rating from 40% to 15%. Scores have been at the 40% weight since 2012 amid the most recent education reform movement.

“Teaching is a complex science and an art. As a teacher, I welcome all students into my classroom. Students come to me from a variety of backgrounds, academic levels and experiences,” said Keri Treadway, a teacher at William Fox Elementary in Richmond. “My job is to meet students where they are and help them learn, grow and develop. Student test scores only show a small snapshot of one day in the life of a student and not an overall picture of the teaching and learning the students have accomplished throughout the year.”

This matters for a lot of reasons - there are more than 100,000 teachers in Virginia - but one of the main ones is the state's rethinking of accountability.

The strong emphasis on test scores in a teacher’s evaluation was a product of the education reform movement of the late 2000s and early 2010s. Education reform advocates have championed using test scores as the best way to evaluate schools and teachers.

Test scores used to be essentially the sole measure in Virginia's accreditation system. It's not anymore. Students used to have to pass more SOLs than they do now to graduate.

This is the latest move in getting away from that...clears throat...high stakes culture.

Here's our full story.

The same request as last week: We write a series of stories every year around the holidays on people in our community making a difference. I would love to feature an educator who goes above and beyond, a volunteer who is relentless in their support, or someone who is changing lives in the education space. More information on nominations and the series can be found here.

Question of the week: Should test scores be a factor in a teacher's evaluation? If so, how much should they be weighted?

(ABOVE PHOTO BY DEAN HOFFMEYER/TIMES-DISPATCH: During a Veterans Day ceremony at Washington-Henry Elementary school in Mechanicsville, WWII veteran James Wallace Yarbrough is presented an honorary diploma by school principal Lisa Thompson (right) and Hanover superintendent Dr. Michael Gill (left). Yarbrough was called away from the former Washington-Henry high school during his senior year in 1944 to join the Army.)

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jmattingly@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6012

Twitter: @jmattingly306

Education Reporter

Justin Mattingly covers K-12 schools and higher education. A northern New York native and a Syracuse University alumnus, he's worked at the RTD since 2017. You can follow him on Twitter at @jmattingly306.

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