Fifth-grade English language arts teacher Jamie Johnson asks for responses from her Glen Oaks Park Elementary School students on Nov. 16, 2016.

Controversy continues to bubble around the state's soon-to-be-revived annual evaluations for public school teachers.

Doris Voitier, a member of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, said Tuesday it is crucial for local educators to get the results of the yearly evaluations soon enough to be meaningful.

As it is now, Voitier said, officials are sometimes grappling in the fall with teacher reviews from the previous school year.

Voiter is the longtime superintendent of the St. Bernard Parish school system.

The reviews have long been controversial because, for some teachers, they link student test results to how teachers fare on their evaluations.

The method is called the Value Added Model, or VAM, and it focuses on whether math, English and other teachers produce student gains compared with how students did the previous year.

Backers say the annual checks are more meaningful than the state's previous method, which relied on principal observations.

Critics say they are misleading.

State Superintendent of Education John White said the issue highlights a tension in public education circles.

Teachers and others generally favor giving students key state tests late in the school year, which gives them more time to cover critical material on the exams.

But that also pushes back the time when test results are finished, and factored into teacher evaluations.

White said the tests will be given in April and May, with results in June.

VAM results should then be available around mid-summer, he said.

Under a 2016 state law, the VAM results will count for 35 percent of the score, 15 percent on whether teachers met academic goals agreed to with principals and 50 percent from traditional classroom observations by principals.

VAM results have only advisory in recent years during the state's move to tougher academic standards.

They are resuming for the 2017-18 school year.

VAM applies to roughly 15,000 of Louisiana's approximately 50,000 public school teachers.

Check back with The Advocate for more details.

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