‘Unfair’ performance evaluation of Virginia teachers set to change

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A sigh of relief for thousands of teachers across the Commonwealth.

“This has been extremely stressful for educators for many years,” Kelly Walker, the President of the Virginia Beach Education Association, said.

For a number of years, teacher performance evaluations centered heavily on students’ academic progress, mainly high-stakes testing like the SOLs. The evaluation counts for nearly half of an educator’s assessment.

“If a student failed the SOL but did well in the class and made significant gains throughout the year, both the student and the teacher are penalized. We felt that piece was unfair,” Walker told News 3 reporter Brian Hill.

It was an unfair system that Walker told us left both teachers and students feeling overwhelmed.

“This type of evaluation was difficult on morale,” she explained.

The Virginia Board of Education listened to teachers' concerns. Last night, they voted to restructure the current system.

‘We can work on what we need to do to get our kids ready for post L-12 education, which is getting them a good job and getting those skills they need in order to be successful in life,” Walker said.

Now, academic progress, professional knowledge standard, instructional planning standard, instructional delivery standard, assessment of and for student learning standard and learning environment standard will only account for 15% of the performance evaluation.

A seventh factor, professionalism, will weigh 10%.

Related: Virginia receives $500,000 grant to support educational advancement for minority students 

“This is more in line with reality: How important it is to have an evaluation tool that measures and reflects what is actually going on in the classroom,” Walker told Hill.

Walker said hopefully these changes will help with retaining teachers and improving classroom environments.

She told us it could be two years before the measure goes into effect.

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