The State of Education
There are many components that go into being a truly effective teacher. In Louisiana, policy dictates that two observations and an assessment score should narrowly judge the entirety of a teacher's work; every component and nuance of teaching for multiple students. Once a score is issued, there is almost no opportunity for teachers to redress any inaccuracies or inconsistencies in their evaluation.
VAM: One of the assessments in the state's Compass Evaluation System is the value-added model (VAM). On its face, this might seem to make sense: a teacher is rated higher if their students show growth, but it is not that simple. "Growth" is measured by a standardized test, which may or may not accurately reflect what that student has learned, and can be impacted by many things entirely outside the control of the student's teacher. Moreover, the tests do not always produce enough data to create a statistically significant score. If, for example, a student enters the class with a "mastery" rating in that particular subject, then it is nearly impossible for the teacher to get a high VAM score, which has negatively impacted many of our state's gifted teachers time and again.