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Corrected data boosts Santa Fe teachers’ evaluations

Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Joel Boyd and state Education Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera present revised ratings for Santa Fe teachers Friday. The new figures show Santa Fe teachers performing much better than an earlier report by the Public Education Department. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Joel Boyd and state Education Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera present revised ratings for Santa Fe teachers Friday. The new figures show Santa Fe teachers performing much better than an earlier report by the Public Education Department. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2014 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – Though not final, Santa Fe Public Schools on Friday released a new set of teacher evaluation data that both Superintendent Joel Boyd and state Public Education Department Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera say is a more accurate representation of Santa Fe teachers’ performance.

Late last week, PED released data for all school districts, and for Santa Fe, it showed fewer than half of SFPS teachers were rated as effective or better. Superintendent Boyd immediately questioned the accuracy of the data, noting it appeared obvious the data released by PED didn’t align with what the school district had projected. He said there were anomalies in the information and predicted the data would be “adjusted significantly” after further analysis and conversations with PED.

That analysis and those conversations took place over the course of the last week and SFPS’s figures, which still need to be verified by PED, are much more in line with the statewide ratings released by PED.

The teacher evaluation system, being implemented for the first time, places teachers in one of five categories from “exemplary” to “ineffective.”

The revised data for SFPS now shows that 66.8 percent of teachers were rated as effective or better, compared to 72.7 percent statewide.

“The concern is the over-arching impression that the community got about the performance of the teachers who will be welcoming their children back into their classrooms on Monday was inaccurate,” Boyd told reporters Friday, with Skandera sitting by his side.

“It was an inaccurate depiction of the performance of Santa Fe teachers as a whole. We’ve got to work from that whole down to the individual and make sure our teachers are getting the feedback they need and they deserve.”

A cause of the problem for last week’s poor ratings was that some data points for Santa Fe teachers, such as teacher attendance, were scored as zeros, Boyd said.

SFPS negotiated a teacher rating formula that is different from that of most state school districts. Teacher attendance is not one of the criteria for Santa Fe teachers, so scores in that category – zero or otherwise – should never have been applied by PED. Santa Fe teachers also improperly got zeroes for student surveys, a factor that won’t kick in for SFPS until next year.

“What we’re trying to do is measure performance,” Boyd said. “No data does not mean no performance, so that’s what creates the inaccuracy in the overall measure.”

Another issue was that Santa Fe was late in reporting its teacher data to PED, due to a technical glitch. So Santa Fe officials didn’t have the opportunity to review PED’s resulting teacher ratings before the ratings were released.

Skandera said it came at Boyd’s suggestion to replace those zeros with “prorated” data taken from other multiple measures used in the evaluations. Skandera acknowledged that there may be some issues with the evaluation system as it’s being implemented for the first time, but she said it was better than the old system that rated more than 99 percent of teachers statewide as effective.

“Do I think this system is perfect? No, we’re going to learn,” she said. “But, man, do I know it’s a huge step in the right direction compared to what we had? For sure.”

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