Pennsylvania teacher ratings could soon be based on student test scores

    A bill gaining approval in Harrisburg could soon change the way Pennsylvania’s teachers are evaluated.

    Legislation supported by the Corbett administration would base evaluations partially on students’ standardized test scores instead of the current method of in-class observations.

    Teachers who spoke with the Philadelphia Inquirer are nervous about the proposed change, which they say is too limited a measurement. Jim Testerman, the president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, said the test scores could be used as one measurement of a teacher’s effectiveness, but should not count for 50 percent of an evaluation, as Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis has suggested they should.

    At the heart of the disagreement is the argument that teachers’ evaluations will be based on students’ performance on a test — the results of which can be influenced by outside factors like poverty and school funding.

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