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  #1  
Old 04-01-2013, 06:00 PM
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Article About Evals

I thought this was interesting. All the money spent to revamp evaluation systems, extra time it takes to implement them and the results are....pretty much the same.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/ed...ewanted=1&_r=1
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2013, 06:39 PM
EdEd EdEd is offline
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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.
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:10 PM
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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.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:44 PM
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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.
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:50 PM
EdEd EdEd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KinderCowgirl View Post
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.
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.
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:00 AM
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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.
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:45 AM
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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.
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:40 AM
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Rockguykev Rockguykev is offline
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Are you advocating for merit based raises and job advancement in teaching?

If you are, good luck with the CTA.
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  #9  
Old 04-02-2013, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarge View Post
Teachers with the best evaluations should be training and evaluating other teachers. Or be running the schools.

That's such a simple solution, I never even thought of that! Enough with the silly PD (even though admittedly the PD in my district isn't so bad...)

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.

Again, such a simple, great concept!

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.

I've always felt this way. My summative evaluation is coming up soon and I feel no motivation, none, to bring up any scores where I was rated Proficient rather than Accomplished or Distinguished. What's the point?
..
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:08 AM
EdEd EdEd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KinderCowgirl View Post
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.
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.
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