|With any change, it is natural to have questions about a new law. Listed below are our responses to some of the most frequently asked questions about Act 54. We will continue to add to this list so please check back frequently. In the meantime, if you have a question you would like us to answer, please free to submit questions via the link located at the top of our home page. You may also submit comments, contact us directly, or sign up for more information if you would like to receive updates regarding Act 54.
How does Act 54 differ from previous law?
When fully implemented, Act 54 will require all educators to be formally evaluated annually; currently educators receive formal evaluations every three years and informal evaluations annually. Act 54 requires student academic growth to count for 50% of educator evaluations; the remaining 50% will be based on traditional measures of effectiveness, such as observations and peer reviews; previous law did not require measures of student growth for teacher evaluations. While previous law required BESE to define components of effectiveness, Act 54 calls on the state board to define measures of effectiveness and respective values.
Rather than relying primarily on test results as previous law outlined, Act 54 mandates the use of value-added data to determine school, district and state performance scores, taking into account actual student growth.
What is the timeline for implementation?
Act 54 will be phased in over two years, allowing for collaboration with educators and other groups and allowing several models of each component to be tested and adjusted, in order to achieve the most effective design. Last school year (2009-2010), 24 schools participated in the first phase of the pilot program, during which the tools were developed and input from the stakeholders was gathered. This school year (2010-2011), 20 districts are participating in round two of the pilot program, with the goal of gathering more feedback to refine the tools and communication. Next school year (2011-2012), every public school in the state will be participating in the final round of the ‘pilot program,’ and in 2012-2013, the value-added assessment will become part of each teacher’s and administrator’s evaluation.
What is value-added assessment?
Value-added assessment is a statistical approach to combining students’ prior years test data and demographic factors with current year LEAP or i-LEAP results to examine whether they made more or less academic progress than would be expected for students with their educational history. Value-added assessment is designed to create a fairer way of examining student results by shifting the focus from where they ended the year to how much progress they made.
For Q & A on Value-Added click here
What happens if a teacher or principal is
Local districts will maintain control over personnel decisions, including hiring and pay. Act 54 extends previous law by requiring educators that are rated ineffective to be provided with intense remediation to improve their performance. Unchanged from previous law is the requirement that local districts take disciplinary action when an educator is rated ineffective for two consecutive years.
Further, based on the new law, educators rated ineffective for three years during a recertification period will not be recertified by the state unless, an appeal is made by the local school board.
How does Act 54 change the components of certified personnel evaluation?
Currently, certified employees in LA public schools are evaluated based on provisions specifically spelled out in statute. Act 54 changes that by requiring BESE to adopt policies regarding employee evaluation and sets forth minimum requirements for those policies.
- Act 54 continues to require: a job description, a professional growth plan (PGP), observation and conferencing, and a classroom visitation.
- Act 54 adds language regarding PGP: “Such plan shall be designed to assist each teacher and administrator in meeting the standards for effectiveness, effectively addressing the social, developmental, and emotional needs of students and maintaining a classroom environment that is conducive to learning.”
- Act 54 retains language guaranteeing that the observation “shall occur at a time and place established in advance (and) shall be of sufficient duration...” Also retains language requiring that the evaluator of a teacher is a supervisor.
- Act 54 deletes the “self-evaluation” requirement from statute.
- Act 54 adds a “measure of effectiveness component” to evaluation. By the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, 50% of such evaluations shall be based on evidence of growth in student achievement using a value-added assessment model as determined by BESE for grade levels and subjects for which value-added data is available.
- Act 54 requires that BESE shall establish measures of student growth for grade levels and subjects for which value-added data is not available and for personnel for whom value-added data is not available.
- Act 54 requires that BESE shall develop and adopt a policy to invalidate such student growth data for any teacher for any school year in which there is a natural disaster or any other unexpected event that results in the temporary closure of the school.
How does Act 54 affect employees’ evaluation records?
Under current law, the state superintendent is authorized to release information regarding personnel evaluation to the public for statistical analysis and research. Act 54 restricts this authority to the release of the “measure of effectiveness” component of personnel evaluation. In addition, the restriction that such release of information shall not reveal information pertaining to the evaluation report of a particular employee is also retained. Beginning with the 2012-13 school year, the release of school level student growth data as it relates to “measure of effectiveness” is also authorized.
What does Act 54 require of local school boards?
Act 54 requires that local school boards develop local evaluation program in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by BESE. Act 54 deletes requirement that the local board establish a steering committee to monitor, review and submit recommendations concerning changes in evaluation process. It further requires that, when requested by the Department, the local board shall submit any information regarding a local’s evaluation program in a timely manner.
How does Act 54 affect those working in charter schools?
Since charter schools are public schools, the teachers and administrators are included in the requirements outlined in Act 54.