http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/education/seeking-aid-more-districts-change-teacher-evaluations.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/education/seeking-aid-more-districts-change-teacher-evaluations.html

The article, “Seeking Aid, School Districts Change Teacher Evaluations” gives a good overall look at new assessments for teachers that are set to be in place by the 2014-15 school year. An increasing number of states are directing districts to use these new evaluations in decisions about how teachers are granted tenure, promoted, or fired.

            The new assessments will be based on two elements: how students’ perform in standardized testing, and classroom evaluation- which includes lesson plans and instructional materials. These evaluations will come from principals, peers, or outside evaluators. A 24-page rubric has been designed to give the evaluators some concrete things to look for when they are observing the teacher. I am very pleased that there is a rubric being given out as this will allow for thorough and fair feedback which I feel many teachers fail to get.

            Though I hear a lot of frustration surrounding standardized testing I think that this is a fair thing to evaluate teachers and more importantly, students on, as one of our goals is of course, graduation. I also agree whole-heartedly with the idea of having observations inside the classroom. In my opinion, far too many teachers get too comfortable after a few years and become lazy, just simply collecting a paycheck and showing up on time. Most jobs, regardless of what sector, ask for regular assessments and/or check-ins that target weak employees or areas for improvement, why not education? Especially, when the idea of tenure comes into play.

        Colorado has decided that starting in the 2014-15 school year, “anyone who receives an “ineffective” or “partially effective” rating for two consecutive years will be stripped of the state’s equivalent of tenure status” (NY Times). I would hope that teachers who do not meet satisfactory marks are given fair opportunity to improve and offered assistance on new teaching practices and methods. Perhaps, these teachers could be required to take a few classes or something?

             Of course, I am not implying that I hope to see numerous teachers being fired but rather, that I hope these assessments offer advice for teachers whose methods seem to be failing, encouragement to teachers who are doing a stellar job, and if nothing else, an excuse to get principals in the classrooms. As one official from the state Education Department said, “It is not about a ‘gotcha’ game,” “It is about elevating the game so you get better at what you already do.” I also think that the in-class assessments would allow the principal and others to use successful teaching methods and pass them on to others in the same school who may be new to teaching or who just need to revamp their old ways.  

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/education/seeking-aid-more-districts-change-teacher-evaluations.html

  1. CHAUCER

    I know this has been talked about endlessly, but the frustration you mentioned about standardized testing is in some ways appropriate. What do you do if you have students that make a great amount of progress in your class but do not pass the standardized test? That doesn’t necessarily mean you are a bad teacher, just that the student is very behind academically. In some classes, especially in the elementary level, children with pronounced learning disabilities are often placed alongside better functioning students. I think I remember being told by a teacher that special needs students, who do not take the MCAS, are counted as zeros towards the school’s overall test scores. Whether this is true or not, there are definitely problems with standardized testing, but I do agree with you overall: we do need to show something about our student’s progress and the best way to do that is through a uniform testing system that gives concrete results.

    It’s definitely true that teachers need to be evaluated better, and the whole Teacher’s Union protection of tenor for terrible teachers should be abolished. In my school experience, most teachers fit either of two descriptions: they were either invested in the education of their students and in love with their job, or they showed up half-awake at 7:30 in the morning; totally disinterested in what they were doing; going through the motions of “teaching” until the bell rang and they could rush out into the parking lot. Those teachers should really find new jobs.

  2. nytimes.com

    I think this is a great idea because there are two many teachers not taking their profession seriously and or teaching properly or to the best of their abilityAs result our youth are beig affected and it can be seen so when they move on to another grade or even when transitioning from high school to college. For instance the fact that there are many people who struggle with grammar and puncuation through out college because it was not taught enough. The focus for my “college prep” high school was creative wriitng more than any other aspect of english. Did enjoy it? Yes I did but I look back and reflect on what else could have been instilled in me to help my writing better than good.

    Implementing rubrics and specific structured assignements that are sure to prepare students when they move on to college is essential. Standardized should definetly stay in effect because it’s a way to see if the teachers really did put in the time and effort to students.

    I don’t think teachers should be fired if they do not perform as expected but perhaps be put on probation or signed up for workshops that suggest helpful tips that give results.

  3. Thanks for both of your comments. Chaucer, I think you bring up a valid point about special needs students being placed along side higher functioning learners and what there grades do to the overall test scores and teacher performance. I believe our school system has a long way to go before teachers are not responsible for students who are beyond their academic reach but also a system that also protects students from bad teachers who offer no help whatsoever. I think standardized testing and teacher evaluation and observation is a start though it is definitely doesn’t help in every situation.

    Brittany, I definitely agree with you about workshops for teachers who do not do well in evaluations. I think that teacher evaluations and observations are like standardized testing for teachers and I think that we need both pieces of the puzzle to ensure that both the teachers and students are evaluated together and in different ways. If a student is struggling and therefore does poorly on their tests then principals or outside observers would see this student in action in the classroom and therefore the teacher doesn’t necessarily have to held accountable for his/her student’s poor grades.

  4. mofulco

    I think this idea, while probably being not liked, is a great one. I think the evaluating of teachers is vital for the success of students. So many teachers, I believe, have forgotten what it really is to be a teacher, and a close evaluation could save many students from being subjected to “bad” teachers.

    I think that rather then simply eliminating the teachers whose methods no longer work, the idea of a workshop would be fantastic in this situation. I think a check-in, more or less, on how these teachers are educating is vital to the performance not only of them, but of teachers that follow. Imagine how much better some schools could be if every teacher was shown ways to improve their methods to better equip their students?

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