After a lengthy legal battle, First Coast News' partner The Florida Times-Union obtained two years' worth of teacher evaluation data Monday. About 58 percent of Florida school districts received aggregated scores below statewide norms last year, according to the paper's analysis, but in Northeast Florida school districts the majority of teachers were scored above the average.
Hundreds of thousands of scores were released and show how the state measures teachers' effect on student learning.
The Times-Union requested the data for every teacher in Florida. The records are considered to be public record, but the Attorney General's Office fought the release of the data citing confidentiality issues. The Times-Union sued for access under Florida's open-records law.
The Value-Added Model, or VAM, is used to assess teacher performance, and may comprise 40 to 50 percent of a teacher's annual evaluation, according to The Times-Union. Those evaluations can determine if a teacher keeps his or her job, or if he or she receives a raise.
According to the Times-Union, 68 percent of teachers in St. Johns County received above-average evaluations, the highest rate in the state, and Baker, Clay and Nassau counties had a majority of teachers outperform the state average. Pathways Academy High School received the highest evaluation in Duval County and Justina Road Elementary School received the lowest. In Clay County, Fleming Island High School received the highest evaluation while Orange Park Junior High received the lowest.
According to the nonprofit education research group, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund (JPEF), VAM is a "statistical model that uses students' academic performance history on the math and reading portions of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) to predict future performance, and then compares their actual results to that predicted performance. The idea of the model is to account for the teacher effect by measuring the difference between predicted performance and actual results - i.e., the 'value added' by the teacher beyond what a student would have been expected to achieve based on past history alone."
School districts have received VAM data since the 2011-12 school year.
For a deeper look at the numbers, check out the Times-Union article: Florida releases controversial scores on teacher effectiveness.