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Hoosier Officials Mulling Decision to Include Test Scores on Teacher Evaluations

Indiana education officials are trying to decide whether they should incorporate student test scores into teacher evaluations this year.

The U.S. Department of Education is allowing states to decide how test scores play into teacher performance ratings and many are opting to wait another year before making any final decisions.

In fact, many states are in a transition period when it comes to academic standards.

Several states with No Child Left Behind waivers have only recently aligned with the nationally-crafted Common Core standards. Others, including Indiana, are crafting their own set of standards.

So U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says he’s offering states more time to decide whether to use student test scores in teacher evaluations.

So far, sixteen states with waivers say they will delay using test scores until at least next year, and at least eleven say they probably will not, according to reports. Indiana has not yet decided what it will do.

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz has said her department will consult with other state officials prior to making a decision.

“It is in statute that teachers are evaluated in part by the state assessments and the growth component of that,” Ritz said, “so conversation has to occur at a high level in order for that to happen.”

The DOE extended Indiana’s waiver through the 2014-15 school year late last month.

The subject of teacher and principal evaluations was one of four areas where the Hoosier state wasn’t meeting federal expectations.