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New York Panel Eliminates Tests From Teacher Evaluations, for Now

A committee of New York's Board of Regents has approved plans to scuttle the use of test scores in teachers' performance reviews for four years, delaying them until at least the 2019-20 schools year.

It voted Monday in favor of the emergency regulations just a week after a panel set up by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to advise the state's implementation of the Common Core State Standards favored the delay. A final vote will occur today.

Under the regulations, teachers will still receive a growth score based on tests, but it won't count towards consequences, such as whether they'll be granted tenure or brought up for dismissal. Instead, they will receive a "transition" score based mainly on teacher observations. 

In all, the Empire State's latest shift in teacher evaluation comes less than a year after Cuomo successfully pushed in budget legislation to increase to 50 percent the weight given to test scores. Teacher evaluation has undergone multiple revisions in the state since 2010, and the new set of regulations appears to supersede a set released in September aligned to the budget bill.

The latest change appears to have been prompted at least partially by the opt-out movement. One in five students sat out state standardized tests during the past year. And the state's backing off of test scores is potentially a harbinger of things to come in other states, now that the newly signed federal law no longer requires states to overhaul their teacher-evaluation systems. 

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