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TN teachers not told of bad evaluations

9:54 AM, Feb 1, 2013   |    comments
Kevin Huffman/file/The Tennessean
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By Lisa Fingeroot, The Tennessean

The number of Tennessee teachers apparently not told how poorly they scored on a teacher evaluation is worrisome to Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, who questions how they can improve without feedback.

"It's been disconcerting that so many teachers have emailed to say, 'You made a mistake,' " when notified of their results by the state Department of Education, Huffman said. His staff has verified the results, though.

"It means (their) principal had not talked to them" about their poor scores, Huffman said. "How are you going to get better if no one talks to you about it?"

Huffman made his remarks Thursday to the State Board of Education during a work session where members receive updates and review topics they will discuss at a business meeting the next day.

Even though Tennessee is into the second year of teacher evaluations, the first year-end results have not been released to the public. A department spokeswoman earlier said the results are expected soon.

After examining the first half-year results, officials said the high scores given to teachers by principals after classroom observations were not supported by the outcome - student test scores.

When the lowest teacher scores are removed from the picture, though, the two sets of scores are much more aligned, said Sara Heyburn, assistant commissioner of teachers and leaders for the department of education.

"People are having trouble with those on the low end," Huffman said. "We need those teachers to improve. We have to give them feedback."

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