BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's Board of Elementary and Secondary Education was expected to approve modest changes to the state's method for evaluating public school teachers, after a board committee Tuesday backed the ideas with little objection.

The changes were recommended by Superintendent of Education John White, to tweak a new system that links half of some teachers' annual reviews to the growth in student performance on standardized tests.

One tweak will allow greater flexibility in evaluating teachers affected by natural disasters, maternity leave and other extenuating circumstances.

Other changes will give teachers more information at the start of the year about their student growth targets and give principals the ability to make slight adjustments to scores for teachers who rank in the middle-range of performance.

A BESE panel approved the recommendations with nearly all members present. Only board member Lottie Beebe of Breaux Bridge opposed the adjustments. The full board was expected to sign off on the action Wednesday.

White said he suggested the changes after getting feedback from teachers and school district leaders. Teacher unions continued to criticize the evaluation process for tying ratings to standardized test scores.

Teachers will get their first ratings under the new system this year.

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