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TN Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman discusses teacher licensure ties to growth scores.

TN Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman discusses teacher licensure ties to growth scores.

Tajuana Cheshier/Chalkbeat TN

Tennessee Board of Education rescinds TVAAS portion of teacher license policy

Now that the Tennessee State Board of Education has decided to no longer use value-added scores to determine whether teachers’ licenses will be renewed, it is waiting on the legislature and education advocates to decide what measures will be used instead.

The board met Friday and voted to rescind much of the policy that ties teacher license renewal to students’ performance on tests. The changes mean teachers’ licenses can no longer be jeopardized by the changes in their students’ test scores as measured by the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, or TVAAS.

TVAAS is a statistical analysis of students’ achievements on state tests over as much as five-year period. Under the state’s law, value-added scores make up as much as 35 percent of a teacher’s final evaluation score. Tennessee’s growth measure has been in use since 1993, according to the state’s website.

“This vote means that we’ve stripped out the language (about TVAAS), and we’re still waiting on direction,” said David Sevier, the state board’s deputy executive director. “Any law that is approved would trump our policy, and we didn’t want to be in conflict.”

Earlier this week, the state House of Representatives passed House Bill 1375,  which prohibited license decisions from being based on student growth data compiled in  TVAAS, the Tennessean reported. The bill was sponsored by Republican John Forgety. The Senate version, Senate Bill 2240, passed last week.

Sevier said the work will now begin to find a measure that is comparable to TVAAS that all parties can agree on.

The state board’s chairman Rolston Fielding said the board reconsidered the issue of tying TVAAS to licensure renewal after hearing the concerns of educators.

The Tennessee Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, has campaigned against tying teacher licensure and renewal based on TVAAS scores across the state. Educators have criticized the TVAAS formula, calling it “unreliable,” and are against using its results to make high-stakes employment decisions.

“I don’t know what will be used in its place,” Fielding said after the meeting. “We do need performance data reflected in teacher license decision, but we have to determine what will be best way to incorporate that. What are the other ways of measuring teacher performance? We don’t know yet.”

Interview with TN Ed Commissioner Kevin Huffman – 4/11/14Tennessee education commissioner Kevin Huffman, who previously advocated for value-added and evaluation scores to be linked licensure and renewal for teachers, attended Friday’s board meeting.

Following Friday’s meeting, Huffman said he still believes teacher performance should be a factor in licensure renewal and advancement.