Last week, the Houston Independent School Board deadlocked in a 3-3 tie vote on whether to renew its contract with the vendor supplying the teacher evaluation program.

Audrey Amrein-Beardsley explains their decision here.

At least three board members realized that five years of this program had not moved the needle by an inch. If performance matters, then EVAAS was a failure.

Beardsley is one of the nation’s leading researchers in the study of teacher evaluation.

She writes:

Seven teachers in the Houston Independent School District (HISD), with the support of the Houston Federation of Teachers (HFT), are taking HISD to federal court over how their value-added scores, derived via the Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS), are being used, and allegedly abused, while this district that has tied more high-stakes consequences to value-added output than any other district/state in the nation. The case, Houston Federation of Teachers, et al. v. Houston ISD, is ongoing.

But just announced is that the HISD school board, in a 3:3 split vote late last Thursday night, elected to no longer pay an annual $680K to SAS Institute Inc. to calculate the district’s EVAAS value-added estimates. As per an HFT press release (below), HISD “will not be renewing the district’s seriously flawed teacher evaluation system, [which is] good news for students, teachers and the community, [although] the school board and incoming superintendent must work with educators and others to choose a more effective system.”

Open the link, read the full article, and read her links. This is excellent news.

The bad part of her post is the news that the federal government is still giving out grants that require districts to continue using this flawed methodology, despite the fact that it hasn’t worked anywhere.

Apparently, HISD was holding onto the EVAAS, despite the research surrounding the EVAAS in general and in Houston, in that they have received (and are still set to receive) over $4 million in federal grant funds that has required them to have value-added estimates as a component of their evaluation and accountability system(s).

So Houston will have to find a new vendor of a failed methodology.