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Early teacher evaluations questioned
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ATLANTA — Ratings of about 5,800 Georgia teachers were skewed, with less than one percent of teachers classified as ineffective and one in five getting the top rating of exemplary, according to a study conducted by state education officials.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ( reported results of the pilot study of the new ratings system, which is designed to measure the performance of Georgia teachers. The report by the state Department of Education found that early results were "skewed to the positive."

State officials say they expect different outcomes as teachers and principals are better trained and have more time to adapt to the new evaluation system, which is to roll out statewide in the 2014-2015 school year.

Senate Education Committee Chairman Fran Millar, a Dunwoody Republican, said the preliminary results raise serious questions about the evaluation system.

"Statistically, this flies in the face of our academic achievement levels. These numbers just don't jibe with reality," Millar said. "If the Georgia evaluation system is going to be based on these type of statistics, I wouldn't see us going forward with it because, just statistically, it can't be valid."

Teachers in 26 districts participated in the pilot program, which was conducted from January to May of 2012. The newspaper reports .032 percent of teachers were classified as ineffective, 5.95 percent as developing or needing improvement, 74.4 percent as proficient and 19.3 percent as exemplary.

Mary Ann Todd, associate state superintendent for teacher and leader effectiveness and Avis King, the state's deputy school superintendent for school improvement, say 10 percent of teachers being classified as ineffective in the study would be more realistic.

"I think it's going to be a culture shift until we get a true measure," Todd said.

An evaluation of student progress was left out of the report. State officials said that component is still being analyzed, and will be reported later.

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