Colorado bill to remove students' test scores from teacher evaluations shot down

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A bill that could have eliminated Colorado’s requirement that teachers be evaluated by how well their students fare on standardized tests was shot down Thursday.

The state’s Senate Education Committee voted 6-3 against SB 16-105. The no votes included two Republican members of the committee who originally signed on as co-sponsors — Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Marble, and Sen. Laura Woods, R-Thornton.

SB 16-105 would have shed a requirement that half of a teacher’s evaluation be determined by student improvement on standardized tests, but districts could use test scores to count for up to 20 percent of each teacher’s evaluation.

Colorado switched to Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers tests in 2015, now taken by all public school students, including charter school pupils. No state testing growth data is being used to evaluate teachers this year because of the change. Instead, districts are using locally chosen measures.

The legislation’s primary sponsor — Sen. Mike Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs — introduced a similar bill last year, but it also never got out of the Senate Education Committee. A retired music teacher, Merrifield served four terms in the Colorado House, including chairing the House Education Committee.

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