Sponsors: Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), Freddie Powell Sims (D- Dawson), John Wilkson (R-Taccoa), David Shafer (R-Duluth), Bill Cowsert (R-Athens), Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega), and others.
The bill, sponsored by the Chair of the Senate Education and Youth Committee, seeks to reform student standardized testing and educator evaluation in the following ways:
- Reduces the number of state-mandated student tests from 32 to 24.
- Allows for fewer observations of veteran, high-performing educators.
- Requires Georgia’s student assessment program to include a comprehensive summative assessment program for grades three through 12. In addition, each local school district will administer, with state funding, a research-based formative assessment with a summative component that is tied to performance indicators in English and language arts/reading in grades one and two, subject to available state appropriations.
- Requires the State Board of Education to adopt a school readiness assessment for students entering first grade.
- Requires that state-required standardized tests comprise 30 percent of the evaluation of teachers of record. In charter districts and strategic waiver districts (currently 178 of 180 Georgia school districts), up to 10 percent of the 30 percent component may be based on multiple measures as determined by the local school district’s flexibility contract. Thus, teachers of classes in which state assessments are administered may have the testing component reduced to a minimum of 20 percent if their local district allows.
- For teachers of record who teach in areas in which a state assessment is not mandated, growth in student achievement shall count for at least 30 percent of the teacher’s evaluation. The student growth measure shall utilize at least one growth measure (e.g. SLOs), but may utilize multiple measures as determined by the local district’s flexibility contract.
- For school leaders (principals and assistant principals), growth in student achievement shall count for at least 40 percent. The student growth measure shall be composed of a minimum of 30 percent state assessment with the remaining 10 percent utilizing multiple student growth measures as determined by the local school system’s flexibility contract. An additional 10 percent shall be based on achievement gap closure; 10 percent on school climate; 10 percent on “Beat the Odds” or CCRPI data, as determined by flexibility contract; and 30 percent on leader evaluations, observations and standards of practice.
- The legislation would increase the percentage of the school year that a student must attend an educator’s class before the student’s test score count toward the educator’s evaluation. (This is an increase from 65 percent to 90 percent.)
- Teachers of record, principals and assistant principals shall be evaluated using multiple, rigorous and transparent measures.
- “Strongly encourages” pushing the test administration to the last week of mid-year semesters for mid-year assessments and the last two weeks of the year for end-of-year assessments.
- Directs the State Board of Education to ensure that any alternate assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities are in compliance with applicable federal law, but do not impose requirements in excess of such federal law in a manner that unduly burdens a local school system or the students.