Article About Evals

Discussion in 'General Education' started by KinderCowgirl, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Apr 1, 2013

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  3. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I don't support teacher eval via state test, but this article isn't as interesting as it may seem, at least to me - basically, districts could choose where to set their cut points for success, and wanted to look good. So, one district originally scored 78% (teachers passing) then redefined the "passing rate" and scored nearly 100%. In other words, there wasn't a standardized implementation of these evaluations, so the results don't really suggest anything other than districts got to play around with them.
     
  4. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    The problem is not the evaluations, but what they are used for.

    Which, right now, is basically nothing.

    In most careers, the best evaluations mean you will eventually replace the boss in the corner office. In teaching it just means, at best, a pat on the back.

    "Reformers" want to change that. But they just want to make it so good and outstanding evaluations mean you get to keep your job.

    Here's what I think. Teachers with the best evaluations should be training and evaluating other teachers. Or be running the schools.

    Want to be an administrator? Rather than just give he jobs to those who have the time and money to spend two years taking graduate education classes, do what the military does. Take the best performers, and give them the needed training to be leaders.

    Moving across the salary scale - our only other equivalent to a "promotion" - should also be tied to evaluations rather than just what degrees and coursework you've completed.

    If they did these two things, it would not matter what metric was used to evaluate teachers.
     
  5. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Sarge-I agree with that completely.

    Our district has actually added a feature in their demographic data for schools-how many highly effective teachers they retain each year-some are below 20%. I think if they did what you suggest that would also help keep the good ones in the business.

    Ed-any kind of evaluation is going to have an element of subjectivity-they were crazy to not foresee that. Even with stringent criteria there is still observational bias. We have a criteria for something like classroom environment. Some assessors see that as is the classroom organized? Others see it as does the teacher provide a calm, safe environment? Two different people read the same thing and see two different things. I think that's part of the reason so many places are weighting standardized test scores so heavily-but that also has flaws as we are seeing.
     
  6. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    So yes - there is subjectivity within evaluations, but I think a bigger issue related to this article (maybe not bigger, but at least as big) is that the criteria applied to those evaluations are being modified to make scores look bigger.

    So, let's take observations of teachers. Your point, which I agree with, is that there is subjectivity used to derive the "score." Let's say that score can range from 1-10 with 10 being the best. So, 3 different raters could observe at the same time and mark scores of 5, 7, or 9 - the difference due to the subjectivity of observations. BUT, on top of that, districts can chose to set different cut scores for "passing." So, let's say a district initially sets a cut score of 8, but only 78% of teachers passed. This would make the district potentially look bad, so they might lower the "passing score" to 6, which then would place a lot more teachers in the passing category.

    Because of this variable (and the variable you mentioned), the fact that 95% of teachers passed the evaluation is a relatively worthless observation because there are varying and subjective criteria used to determine who "passed." In other words, using a more objective rating, it's entirely possibly that only 50% passed.

    So, the bottom line is that this figure isn't worth much, and that we'd need more information before thinking too much more about it.
     
  7. KinderCowgirl

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    Well, when the article is talking about changing the cut score-they are talking about the standardized testing portion. This is the first time many places are using this for evaluation. So if you find that 22% of your teachers are going to be fired because their test scores were too low, I think that may be an indication that you set the bar too high with what you consider to be an effective score. Especially if other districts around you are accepting a different standard.
     
  8. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    As I said, if the only result of an evaluation is to decide who to fire, you will eventually end up with a career field in which nobody wants to enter with the exception of those who can't get employment anywhere else. When that happens, even the top 10 percent will be marginal in terms of actual performance.

    In the military, we had rock solid job security. Heck, we couldn't even quit if we wanted to. But everyone worked hard to excel at their job because you knew that if you did, then one day you would be the one with all the stripes making the decisions.

    That is one of the major things lacking in the teaching profession.
     
  9. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Are you advocating for merit based raises and job advancement in teaching?

    If you are, good luck with the CTA.
     
  10. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    ..
     
  11. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    But the real issue is what if 22% (or more) really aren't that effective? Yes, I definitely get the motivation to preserve jobs, but if our main goal is to identify effective vs. ineffective teachers, the system described in the article doesn't seem to do the job as applied. In other words, I'm not sure that there was any real method for "setting the bar." It seems that it was arbitrary - maybe it was too high when only 78% passed, but then again it may have been too low. Maybe only 50% of teachers are really good/effective. There's just no way of knowing when the cut score is arbitrary.
     
  12. EdEd

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    Sarge, I definitely agree with you. Rockguykev, I don't think he's necessarily arguing for merit may, but merit-based promotion, with corresponding increases in salary. It might make sense to have "lead teachers," "senior teachers," "teacher advisors," etc. with different "ranks" and different pay grades at each rank.

    It's an interesting question, though, about merit pay or merit-based promotion, because both do rely on the notion that somehow teachers would perform better if they cared more, which is a dubious proposition. Merit pay hasn't worked historically, but it's possible that the pay bump just wasn't enough. After all, I do wonder if performance would increase if the teacher was promised a $1,000,000 bonus for certain performance standards. To the extent that motivation would be a factor, I would imagine that merit-based promotion has an added advantage over merit pay with the title, honor, promotion, status, added responsibility/authority, acknowledgement of success, etc. In other words, many (good) teachers may be more motivated by those intangible benefits.

    Still, I think the largest variables affecting teacher quality have to do with teacher skill - recruitment/retention of really bright folks, high quality preservice training, high quality mentoring and inservice training, etc. This is very different from teacher effort, passion, and motivation, which I've generally found to be pretty high (or at least sufficient) in my various experiences.
     
  13. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    I don't think that Sarge was saying that merit-based promotion would make teachers care more. Rather, merit-based promotion would give us better administrators. A lot of the administrators we have now weren't any good in the classroom, or were the only teachers who could afford to pay for the admin credential. Also, if a 25-year teacher has the same duties as a 10-year teacher, there isn't much motivation to improve further. If there were opportunities for advancement, there would be more motivation to improve.
     
  14. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    How about this: Create an additional tier on the evaluation scale - "exemplary" "awesome" or whatever.

    Make that for 5 years straight, and you get bumped to the next column on the salary scale regardless of what units, degrees, or classes you have.
     
  15. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I think one of the big elephants in the room in education is the fact that having an administrative credential is in no way a reflection of your job performance as a teacher.

    And yet, it is the one thing that puts you at the front of the line for positions of leadership in education.

    Think about this. The Cal State Sacramento program for a preliminary administrative credential costs between $12,000 and $15,000 to complete. Nowhere in the adminssion requirements does it say anything about having good evaluations as a teacher or recommendations from principals attesting to one's competence as a teacher or potential success as an administrator. The most it asks for is three years of "successful" teaching experience. I read that to mean that you need to make it three years without getting fired or let go.
     

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