Dr. John B. King, Jr., New York State Education Commissioner...

Dr. John B. King, Jr., New York State Education Commissioner speaking at Hofstra University's Distinguished Lecture Series Breakfast. (Feb. 2, 2012) Credit: Newsday/Audrey C. Tiernan

State school officials are trying to enlist teachers' help in making their upcoming job ratings more accurate, but the effort has encountered some initial technological glitches on Long Island and upstate.

Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. plans to announce Thursday that a new "Teacher-Student Roster Verification Report" is available on the state Education Department's website.

Additional information, including a video walk-through of the process, is at www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/teacher/.

The state wants teachers to check the site to make sure their student rosters and courses are accurate. That's vital, because teachers in grades 4-8 will be judged in June on how well those listed students perform on state standardized tests of English and math.

When New York City released its own teacher ratings last month, the event was accompanied by loud complaints of flawed data -- including complaints that students were listed with teachers who had not taught them.

"Effective teachers and effective principals are critical to ensuring our students graduate college- and career-ready," King said in a prepared statement Wednesday. "But an evaluation system is only useful if the data reported are accurate."

Checks for accuracy could be difficult, especially on the scale envisioned by the state. June's ratings are expected to cover about 52,000 teachers and principals statewide and about 7,000 on the Island. State officials said they've received class rosters and other data for about 10,000 of those school employees statewide so far.

Five districts across the state, including South Huntington and Sachem, are in a pilot program to test the department's verification site. Problems popped up in at least two of those districts, state and local officials reported.

In South Huntington, for example, five of seven teachers who gathered last week to try out the site ran into problems and had to enlist the help of technical specialists, while two teachers negotiated the state's system successfully. In the upstate DeRuyter district, four teachers reportedly succeeded with the system, while four others encountered technical problems or lack of sufficient data.

"It's just a huge, huge undertaking," said Thomas Shea, the South Huntington superintendent. "And I think we'd be naive to think that this could be done without some glitches along the way, especially when this is the first time we've set up a system like this."

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