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L.A. Principals to Be Evaluated on Range of Data, Other Factors

By Jaclyn Zubrzycki — September 18, 2012 1 min read
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Evaluations of school principals in the Los Angeles Unified School District will be based in part on test scores for the first time. The district and the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, which represents the district’s school administrators, reached an agreement last week that means that, for the current school year, student achievement data by grade level, by department, and for the entire school will be used alongside other information in evaluating principals.

Superintendent John E. Deasy described the agreement as a “huge step forward.”

The district has been revamping evaluation systems in the wake of a California State Superior Court judge’s ruling on Doe v. Deasy that said that teacher and principal evaluations must account for student achievement.

“It’s a system that allows us to really have a balanced and robust, strong accountability system for evaluation that accomplishes three things: It identifies good practice; helps develop strong leaders; and holds leaders accountable,” Mr. Deasy said of the new plan.

AALA President Judith Perez emphasized both that professional development is a large part of the plan, and that the effectiveness of the new evaluation would be reviewed later this year. Ms. Perez also noted that the agreement stresses that student achievement is only one part of a multifaceted evaluation.

“Where available, [state test ... ] results and other student test data are to be considered a limited part of the whole evaluation picture,” the agreement states. “There will be no specific predetermined weight to be given them nor are they to be treated by the district or evaluators as the sole or as the primary or controlling factor in determining the final overall evaluation of administrators’ performance.”

That kind of approach is recommended in a new report from two national groups representing principals, which calls for growth-oriented instead of punitive systems for determining the effectiveness of school leaders.

The district and administrators plan to begin a new set of negotiations that will include principal evaluation later in September.

Mr. Deasy said the principal agreement may be a model to the extent that, while it “doesn’t shy away from accountability even though people have been nervous, it’s a balanced basket of measures.”

A version of this article appeared in the September 19, 2012 edition of Education Week as L.A. Principals to Be Evaluated on Range of Data, Other Factors

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