Changing the way Virginia teachers are graded

VEA, others pushing for teacher evaluation updates


ROANOKE, Va. – Changing the way teachers are graded in Virginia is something many are pushing for this year.

Right now, 40 percent of the evaluation is based on how students perform, but the Virginia Education Association (VEA) is lobbying to change that.

"Because Department of Education has not come up with a really firm definition of what student performance is most often test scores are used as an indicator. When you have 40 percent of your teacher evaluation model built on test scores we think that's a problem. We also think that it is disincentivizing for teachers to go into high-needs schools when they know when they receive one poor evaluation in Virginia you can lose your job," said Kathy Burcher, VEA director of government relations and research.

The group is initiating legislation to make changes. Right now, the evaluation is based on seven standards, including that student performance of 40 percent, and 10 percent for each of the following: professional knowledge, instructional planning, instructional delivery, assessment of and for student learning, learning environment, and professionalism.

The last time any updates were made was 2015.

Virginia Superintendent Dr. James Lane says they are starting to research changes.

"We're working with stakeholders, the education association, teachers to really think about what the ideal teacher looks like in Virginia and then we want to base our evaluation system on that," he said.

The Virginia Education Association will be in Richmond during the General Assembly Session lobbying for this and many other changes.

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