Bay District's Schools are expecting the results of a relatively new appraisal system this month. It's different from school grades and gives parents a second look at a school's progress.
Schools and Teachers now receive a value-added measurement, or VAM, score. For example, a teacher's score is determined by the learning gains his or her students made over the school year and are compared to similar students throughout the state.
"It finds other students just like Dawn [example name] across the state of Florida, and it figures out how did they do on the test, and as a group, what is the average of their particular learning that they had. Then, we pull Dawn out and now compared to the group, how did Dawn do," said Dawn Capes, the district's Appraisal System Coordinator.
A school or teacher can earn one of four designations. They are, from lowest to highest, "Unsatisfactory," "Needs Improvement or Developing," "Effective," and "Highly Effective."
For more than a decade, a school's letter grade has given the district and parents a snapshot of a school's performance. Those grades are mostly determined by FCAT scores and don't take into account previous grades or different types of students.
District leaders and school administrators agree VAM scores provide a bigger and better picture.
"One thing the VAM does is it levels the playing field and it compares apples to apples and oranges to oranges," said Everitt Middle School Principal Shirley Baker. "Whereas a school grade under the Florida accountability system puts everyone in the same pot and you come out with the same measure."
The school's overall VAM scores are expected to be released this month, but the public cannot see a teacher's individual one. Teacher scores aren't public for the first year.
Bay District Schools fully implemented this system in 2011. In the first year, the majority of teachers earned an "Effective" score, which district leaders said means "Great."
2011-2012 Teacher Percents
Highly Effective - 5.9%
Effective - 92%
Needs Improvement - 1.9%
Unsatisfactory - 0.2%
Every school district in the state will have to fully implement the teacher appraisal system by the 2014 - 2015 school year.