Learning Sciences International Presented Data from Pinellas County Schools Research Pilot to U.S. Department of Education

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Learning Sciences International recently addressed a United States Department of Education convening, presenting data from a 2013–2014 research pilot conducted in partnership with Pinellas County Schools.

Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Michael A. Grego and Learning Sciences International CEO Michael D. Toth.

Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Michael A. Grego and Learning Sciences International CEO Michael D. Toth.

The use of multiple data sources closer to the classroom provides greater utility for improving instruction and a stronger sense of ownership among teachers.

Learning Sciences International CEO, Michael D. Toth, was invited by the United States Department of Education to speak at a national discussion on alternatives to state Value-Added Measures (VAMs) for teacher evaluation. At the recent convening, Toth presented data from a 2013–2014 research pilot that the company conducted in partnership with Pinellas County Schools in Florida. Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Michael A. Grego played a key role in implementing the groundbreaking pilot.

“We sought to implement our pilot evaluation system because we strongly believe there are better methods for teacher evaluation than relying on state-issued VAM scores,” said Grego. “The use of multiple data sources closer to the classroom provides greater utility for improving instruction and a stronger sense of ownership among teachers.”

The pilot, a collaborative project supported by the Pinellas County Classroom Teachers Association, provided multiple short-duration measures of teacher and student growth throughout the school year. Embedded professional development, training, and feedback were designed to help teachers hone their classroom practice and address learning gaps early on in instructional units. Data from classroom observations, student growth, teacher self-assessments, and student surveys combined to produce a rich portrait of the effect of teaching on student progress.

“To support teacher improvement, we need effectiveness measures that are closer to the classroom and that can be used by educators to help the students they are currently teaching,” says Toth. “That’s exactly what Pinellas County Schools has been doing. We commend Dr. Grego and the entire district for its commitment and innovativeness, which are now proving instrumental in informing national policy discussions.”

To learn more about Learning Sciences International or to speak to CEO Michael Toth, contact Learning Sciences at 877.411.7114 or visit LearningSciences.com. For more on Pinellas County Schools or to interview Michael Grego, contact Melanie Marquez Parra, Director of Strategic Communications, Pinellas County Schools, 727.588.6501.

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James Hartnett
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