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Georgia seeks one-year flexibility from consequences of student growth on teacher and leader evaluation; implementation of educator evaluation systems to continue

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GADOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358,

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September 24, 2014 – Georgia will seek flexibility from its Elementary and Secondary Education (ESEA) waiver in order to delay, for one year, the high-stakes consequences related to the use of student growth measures in new teacher and leader evaluation systems, Superintendent Dr. John Barge announced today.

“As we transition to a new assessment system, we need additional time before incorporating student growth in high-stakes personnel decisions,” Dr. Barge said. “A one-year delay will ensure that teachers and leaders are aware of the impact of more rigorous standards and high-quality assessments, and that they have time to amend instructional practices and engage in the necessary professional learning.”

Georgia will continue to implement the educator evaluation systems using multiple measures of student growth and will calculate student growth data based on the Georgia Milestones and student learning objectives. Teachers of tested and non-tested subjects, along with all principals and assistant principals, will be provided with their student growth data for the 2014-2015 school year. However, high-stakes consequences tied to that data will be delayed for one year if the waiver is granted.

Georgia’s 26 Race to the Top districts will continue full implementation this school year, including paying merit bonuses to the top 10 percent of teachers. Merit bonuses in those districts will be based on Georgia's current assessment system, including student growth measures.

The U.S. Department of Education announced in August that it would allow states with ESEA waivers to request flexibility related to the incorporation of test results in teacher and leader accountability. Georgia submitted its request for flexibility on Tuesday, September 23.