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More than half of SF teachers score poorly

SANTA FE – More than half of Santa Fe Public Schools teachers have been rated as less than effective, according to data released by the state Public Education Department on Friday.

But Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Joel Boyd said something is clearly wrong.

“I’m convinced that this data is inaccurate and will be adjusted significantly after our analysis and conversations with PED,” he said. “Given that we know statewide test scores went down and in Santa Fe they went up, we know the data is inaccurate, therefore we can’t draw any conclusions.”

Last month, PED reported Santa Fe students showed modest improvements in proficiency in reading and math. Reading proficiency went up from 46.1 percent in 2012-13 to 47.6 percent last school year, and math proficiency increased from 35.1 to 36.1 percent.

While Santa Fe’s figures are still lower than the New Mexico average, SFPS closed the gap on the rest of the state. Scores showed 50.6 percent of students statewide were reading at grade level and 42 percent scored proficient in math.

“It doesn’t seem to align with what we know to be true about student learning gains,” Boyd said. We expected to see data shift, but it should align with student learning gains when we’re outpacing the rest of the state.”

PED spokesman Larry Behrens responded later. “Even though Santa Fe Public Schools did not submit any evaluation data until well over a month past the deadline, we have continually worked to ensure accuracy. We are happy to discuss any concerns with Superintendent Boyd.” SFPS blamed the data delay on a technical glitch.

The PED evaluations, new this year, rate teachers in one of five categories. The data released by PED shows that 1.3 percent of teachers statewide were rated “exemplary,” 18.3 percent were “highly effective,” 53.1 percent were “effective,” 23.0 percent were “minimally effective” and 4.2 percent were “ineffective.”

In Santa Fe, the PED numbers showed 0.4 percent of teachers were rated “exemplary,” 6.2 percent were “highly effective” and 42.9 percent were “effective,” while 40.7 percent were “minimally effective” and 9.8 percent were “ineffective.” That means 50.5 percent were rated ineffective or only minimally effective.

Santa Fe’s teacher evaluation formula is different from the one used by most school districts. While student achievement, measured by test scores, counts for 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation elsewhere, in Santa Fe the test scores count for 35 percent.

Boyd, who received the data from PED only late Friday afternoon, suspects that what might have happened is the state evaluation formula used in all but 11 school districts was applied to SFPS. For instance, 131 of more than 800 teachers in the district had their scores lowered for attendance. While teacher attendance is part of evaluations in most districts, it does not factor in for teachers in Santa Fe.

Boyd said it seemed there were other data points that appear to be missing. “We’ve got to make sure the formula was applied correctly,” he said, adding that the district will go through each teacher’s evaluation to assure there are no missing data points.