The Value In Value Added

This week’s column at TIME.com is about value-added evaluations for teachers and how the field needs to go to get past the pure data fetish as well as the Ouija board approaches the unions like.

19 Responses to “The Value In Value Added”

  1. john thompson Says:

    You sound like Diane Ravicth, writing a great analysis of the problems but offering no answers.

    Ok you did write:

    “The answer, then, is to develop better training for supervisors and better methods of evaluating teachers, including using value-added analysis but also classroom observations and other tools.”

    Where are we going to get those supervisors? How can we afford the time and money to train them? Even if we had the resources to teach a new generation of inner city principals the basics of teaching and learning, as we teach them the intricacies of growth models and evaluating good teaching, while they are also learning how to be turnaround specialists, when will they have the time to visit classrooms?

    Even if you double the size of the principal corp, you have a couple of questions that still are unanswered. Firstly, the last person who should be allowed to interpret test score data is the principal who has an inherent conflict of interest. The person who has to take the heat for school factors – especially absenteeism and discipine – has to determine whether test score growth is due to teacher or school problems? Come on, we have to fight that forever.

    Secondly, how will you recruit and retain principals who face the same problem. They must meet test score targets set by central office administrators who are clueless whether it is the school or the system’s policies – like not letting principals enforce attendance and discipline policies – that depress scores.

    Peer review is flawed. But it is the only system that I can see where the flaws are inherent and irreversible.

  2. babby Says:

    John you wrote:

    “The person who has to take the heat for school factors – especially absenteeism and discipine – has to determine whether test score growth is due to teacher or school problems? Come on, we have to fight that forever.”

    I don’t understand your point here. Since principals are responsible for school-wide performance, aren’t they exactly who should be evaluating individuals in the school? They’re the only one with the incentive to improve everyone’s performance.

  3. john thompson Says:

    The fundamental rule of education is that the feces rolls downhill.

    Real world in the inner city, the central office that evaluates principals will not let him or her enforce discipline and attendance policies, while encouraging the creaming of the students who are easier to educate to magnets, and creating a greater critical mass of at-risk kids.

    So, faced with an impossible situation, the principal has to be in CYA mode. In my experience, most principals know that the policies, that they have to pretent to support, make it much much harder to increase student performance, but they are not allowed to say so.

    Counter-intuitively, setting impossible growth targets (which will continue until systems invest in high quality alternative schools) just incentivizes the most primitive of subjective powers. Principals will surround themselves with “yes men” who will go along with burying unfavorable data, and go along with the circle the wagons mentality.

    Rothstein and others have documented why data-DRIVEN models that are preceived as unfair just encourage more of the destructive culture of compliance.

    Also, principal turnover will explode. Educators want to educate, not play stupid political games all day.

    babby,

    To tell the true, I don’t understand your point. your don’t really believe that organizations operate rationally do you?

  4. babby Says:

    what does CYA mean?

  5. john thompson Says:

    cover your ass.

    Its job #1 in schools where the impossible is demanded and the facts are not allowed up the chain of command.

    When a super like Michelle Rhee tells principals to “go hard or gone home” in terms of firing teachers, CYA is going to rule.

  6. Chris Smyr Says:

    John Thompson:

    “Where are we going to get those supervisors?”

    I think Andy was implying current principals and district-level staff.

    “How can we afford the time and money to train them?”

    There are districts out there that are already doing this. Ask them.

    “when will they have the time to visit classrooms?”

    They will have to make time, considering they are being evaluated on student achievement. I imagine a principal or official visiting classrooms every now and then is standard procedure in most schools.

    “the last person who should be allowed to interpret test score data is the principal who has an inherent conflict of interest.”

    That’s where district-level staff would take responsibility.

    “Peer review is flawed. But it is the only system that I can see where the flaws are inherent and irreversible.”

    Isn’t that an argument against it being used?

    “Real world in the inner city, the central office that evaluates principals will not let him or her enforce discipline and attendance policies”

    What are the discipline/attendance policies that principals are not allowed by the central office to enforce?

    “encouraging the creaming of the students who are easier to educate to magnets, and creating a greater critical mass of at-risk kids.”

    How?

    “[Cover your ass is] job #1 in schools where the impossible is demanded”

    Define impossible, and demanded by whom?

    “and the facts are not allowed up the chain of command.”

    What facts specifically?

    “When a super like Michelle Rhee tells principals to “go hard or gone [sic] home” in terms of firing teachers, CYA is going to rule.”

    Are you suggesting that Rhee would fire principals that didn’t fire teachers, or that principals wrongfully evaluated teachers to get them fired? Can you give evidence for this claim?

  7. Kent Says:

    My own experience is limited to one large suburban HS in Texas where I currently teach. But I would NEVER want to work as a HS principal. Or, in my own case, an assistant principal as they are the administrators that are directly involved in teacher supervision at my school. Yes, they make more money than teachers but not THAT much more. The science job I gave up when I went into teaching paid more than any of my assistant principals make and probably about what my principal currently makes.

    At my suburban HS of about 2200 students there are currently 155 full time teachers and dozens more aids, librarians, coaches and others for a total professional staff of around 200.

    Our principal is the direct supervisor of all first-year teachers as well as all the other administrators in the school. We an associate principal who is primarily responsible for the building facilities, maintenance and certain special programs. And then we have 4 assistant principals who are the supervisors of all the non-first year teachers as well as the disciplinarians for about 500 students each.

    So the assistant principal who is my direct supervisor has about 40 teachers to supervise and evaluate on top of her regular duties to be the disciplinarian for the 500 students in the school with last names ending in A-D which is itself nearly a full-time job. On top of that there are assistant principals on duty at nearly every sporting event and more than one at big events like football games. And they also sit in on most ARDs for special ed students in their alphabet range, review lesson plans, attend departmental planning meetings, supervise and assist substitutes who are always in the building, and deal with lots and lots of parents.

    Despite the endless hours she works, the time she has to actually spend in my classroom doing observations is vanishingly small. I expect my own experience is quite similar to most teachers in large high schools around the country. I suspect my school is about average in terms of the ratio of administrators to teachers.

    Now it is easy for pundits and academics to invent all sorts of labor intensive and data intensive management schemes that would let my assistant principal carefully evaluate my performance against those of my peers and against whatever complicated sorts of benchmarks one wants to invent. But it will likely take a whole lot more administrators to do the job in any legitimately fair and equitable manner. Test scores are not even a remotely adequate tool to do the job. Consider the seven teachers in my own physics department.

    Teacher # 1 (myself) teaches 3 sections of general physics to ordinary middle-of-the road juniors and 3 sections of aquatic science to seniors. Juniors must pass a standardized state science test that covers biology, chemistry, physics, and the general nature of science. Only 12 questions out of 55 are physics questions. The rest test their knowledge of biology which the took as freshman and chemistry which they took as sophomores. I only had 2 students fail the test last year when I was teaching 6 sections of physics and both were recent immigrants from El Salvador with limited English skills (the test is only in English) so my test scores are fine. But this year half my classes are aquatic science which is a senior elective and seniors get not standardized tests in Texas unless they have junior level tests to make up or retake.

    Teacher #2 our department head teaches 2 sections of AP Physics B, 1 section of AP Physics C to mostly seniors and 3 sections of pre-AP physics to the cream of the crop juniors. I doubt he’s had a student fail any standardized test in a decade as most of his students are more worried about scoring in the the national merit scholar range on their SATs and getting 5s on their AP tests. Most of his students could pass the state standardized science tests with near perfect scores before they even take his classes.

    Teacher #3 across the hall from me teaches remedial physics to struggling juniors with a host of issues from special ed to teenage pregnancy to extended stays in juvenile detention. Her class sizes are around 15 students each compared to mine which are 24-25 each. But no matter how hard she works she is going to have a handful of students failing the standardized tests. Like the ones who haven’t been in her class since October and take the test in April from juvenile detention yet still show up on her roster and for whom she is still the official teacher of record.

    Teacher #4 teaches 5 sections of astronomy to seniors who aren’t tested and 1 section of pre-AP physics to the cream of the crop juniors.

    Teacher #5 teaches remedial integrated physics and chemistry (IPC) to struggling freshman who did poorly on the 8th grade science tests and who are placed in IPC as freshman instead of in biology with most of the rest of the freshman class. Freshman do not receive standardized state science tests in Texas so her students will not be tested until the end of their sophomore years.

    Teacher #6 teaches general physics in the morning same as me and teaches a senior elective engineering class in the afternoons.

    Teacher #7 teaches 4 sections of chemistry to juniors and 2 sections of general physics to juniors.

    While all seven of us teach physics of some sort, none of us teach classes or student populations that can be directly compared to each other. Nor do our students receive any sort of standardized test that legitimately evaluates what we teach them in physics. Rather they receive a high-stakes science test that evaluates their overall science education over their entire HS careers and which they must pass to graduate. And that is just physics. The situation is equally complex in the biology and chemistry departments as everyone teaches a different mix of classes and students. At my school all veteran science teachers generally have 2 preps and the first-year teachers are given one prep. And there are no relevant state standardized tests for the dozen plus advanced science elective courses taught at my school.

    Now how does an administrator like my assistant principal with 40 teachers to supervise and endless other administrative duties fairly and equitably determine which teachers are the high performers and deserving of merit pay and which are not? And how will her evaluations compare to the other assistant principals who are equally overworked and who are evaluating a different set of teachers? I defy you to come up with any rational system that won’t waste everyone’s time and won’t get watered down so far as to be meaningless.

  8. topher Says:

    Kent’s post above is great and points out something that none of the so called “reform” cheerleaders are ever willing to even discuss. High schools don’t operate in a way that is set up to directly compare teachers. It might work some among elementary teachers, but I don’t see how it will work for high schools.

  9. Chris Smyr Says:

    Kent:

    “So the assistant principal who is my direct supervisor has about 40 teachers to supervise and evaluate on top of her regular duties to be the disciplinarian for the 500 students in the school with last names ending in A-D which is itself nearly a full-time job.”

    It shouldn’t be considered “on top of her regular duties” if teacher supervision *is* one of her regular duties.

    “Despite the endless hours she works, the time she has to actually spend in my classroom doing observations is vanishingly small.”

    You should be explicit here: what does “vanishingly small” look like? Is it enough for a couple of 1-hour observations in a year, and maybe 20-minute debrief sessions after each? In your school’s case, that would translate to 80 hours of observations with 27 hours of debriefs. That’s nearly 3 full weeks of consecutive observations with, let’s say, 80 days with a 20-minute afterschool debrief. If she were to spread this out evenly throughout the school year, that’s about 1 observation, with a short afterschool session, every other day. Sure, add some time for paperwork and misc. preparation, but this is still probably the least time-consuming aspect of your principal’s job, even though it’s one of the more important ones.

    “that would let my assistant principal carefully evaluate my performance against those of my peers”

    She should be evaluating you against the state/school/district standards for teacher quality. She doesn’t need to know how your neighbors teach to give you a legitimate evaluation.

    “Test scores are not even a remotely adequate tool to do the job.”

    You’ve now lambasted both standardized testing and classroom observations. Do you have an alternative method in mind for how to evaluate teachers?

    “While all seven of us teach physics of some sort, none of us teach classes or student populations that can be directly compared to each other.”

    That’s why she shouldn’t directly compare you to your colleagues but rather against the given teacher quality benchmarks. This is also a reason for why value-added methods could be utilized, as it could help normalize achievement data to different student backgrounds.

    “Nor do our students receive any sort of standardized test that legitimately evaluates what we teach them in physics.”

    This is likely a good reason to create more specific standardized tests for the classes that don’t already have such a test.

    “Now how does an administrator like my assistant principal with 40 teachers to supervise and endless other administrative duties fairly and equitably determine which teachers are the high performers and deserving of merit pay and which are not?”

    The same way any other professional in any other field manages to evaluate their staff while at the same time upholding all of the other endless duties incumbent on their job responsibilities: with noted difficulty. But that’s not a reason for why it shouldn’t still happen. The relevant discussion here ought to be how to best streamline this process.

  10. john thompson Says:

    Chris,

    You can argue all you want about what the world would be like if you were the Master of the Universe, but reality is not just another paradigm.

    Great post Kent, and we should remember what the principal turnover rate is in Texas. The rest of the country won’t be far behind.

  11. Attorney DC Says:

    Kent: Thanks for providing a detailed, practical description of the problems inherent with any cookie-cutter teacher evaluation system. As a former teacher, I agree with you that schools are not set up to make simple teacher-to-teacher comparisons. For example, in one school I taught 5 periods of history, mostly to honors students (a pretty easy schedule); in another school, I taught 2 periods each of 3 different subjects to low-income students with emotional and behavior problems (some of whom had parole officers). It would not be at all simple to compare my “teacher effectiveness” in one situation to the other.

    Looking forward to more informative posts from you and other teachers.

  12. Chris Smyr Says:

    John Thompson:

    How does what I wrote imply that I am the “Master of the Universe”? Does it imply masterhood to question your reasoning? I think I ascended to god status long ago if that’s the case.

    Attorney Dc:

    “As a former teacher, I agree with you that schools are not set up to make simple teacher-to-teacher comparisons.”

    And they don’t intend to do so, either, nor is that what Andy was arguing. The comparisons made are not between teachers but of teachers against a teacher quality metric (for observations) and against normalized student data (for test results).

    “It would not be at all simple to compare my “teacher effectiveness” in one situation to the other. ”

    It wouldn’t be that difficult if the principal understood that growth goals in student achievement were a better indicator of teaching ability than attainment goals. Also, the teacher quality metric often used focuses mainly on teacher actions rather than student achievement, making it easier to compare your teaching ability in different classrooms. For instance, DCPS uses a Teaching and Learning Framework for observations that includes the following standards:

    * Lead well-organized, objective-driven lessons
    * Explain content clearly
    * Engage students at all learning levels in rigorous work
    * Provide students multiple ways to engage with content
    * Check for student understanding
    * Respond to student misunderstandings
    * Develop higher-level understanding through effective questioning
    * Maximize instructional time
    * Build a supportive, learning-focused classroom community

    Organization, clarity, rigor, differentiation, questioning, efficiency, community-building– all are aspects of the teacher quality metric that the teacher controls. I think what also gets lost in these discussions is the principal’s common sense: “higher-level understanding”, for instance, will look different in an honors class (that’s what the students signed up for). A “supportive, learning-focused classroom community” doesn’t mean she’s looking for your paroled kids to be outwardly affectionate to all other students. The important point is how you, as a teacher, respond to the varied needs of your students.

  13. Kent Says:

    Responding to a couple comments here.

    First, I’m not lambasting standardized testing. I’m criticizing it’s use for determining the effectiveness of secondary science teachers. The primary purpose of standardized testing is to determine whether students have mastered a certain set of material. That purpose is not necessarily consistent with the purpose of evaluating teachers. To the layman they might seem to be the same purpose but they are not.

    The standardized tests here in Texas (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills or TAKS tests) were designed to evaluate whether students have learned what the state has determined to be the minimum requirements for graduation. Students are not tested in every single subject every single year.

    In science they receive a general science TAKS test in 8th grade to see where they are at before moving into high school. We use those scores to help determine which science class to place them in as incoming freshman. Then they are not tested again until the end of their 10th grade year. Again, it is a general science test covering biology, chemistry, physics and the nature of science so it is a benchmark test of their general science knowledge on material covered from 7th through 10th grade. The 10th grade test is something of a benchmark for students to give them and their teachers a heads up on what areas of science they might be weak on a year in advance of the 11th grade science TAKS test that they MUST pass to graduate. Students who fail the 10th grade test are generally receive extra tutoring and might lose an elective their 11th grade year so they can take additional science review to help them pass the 11th grade test. It is absolutely high stakes testing. If they don’t pass the science TAKS as 11th graders they don’t graduate. They will have multiple opportunities to retake it up until the end of their senior years.

    Point being, the TAKS is an attempt by the state to set minimum graduation requirements for science that apply to all high schools in Texas. However it doesn’t work at all as a mechanism for evaluating science teacher performance because the test is a general science test covering biology, chemistry and physics whereas each science teacher only teaches one of those subjects. And it really only covers several narrow areas of each of those subjects. A comprehensive science test that tested everything taught in each area of science would be 500 questions long and take 2 days to administer. The test is only 55 questions long and only has about 10 questions from each area of science (biology has two different areas covered on the test so there is twice as much biology as the other subjects).

    There is no benchmark test of my student’s physics knowledge coming into my class and there is no standardized physics test that tests what they actually learned in my class during the 9 months that I have them. What there is is a general science test that has about 10 elementary physics questions from only a few areas of physics and my students mostly get all of those right. The few students I have in 11th grade physics who fail usually fail because of the chemistry portion of the test because chemistry is the least common-sense or common knowledge area of science.

    Now we could completely revamp the standardized testing system in Texas so that all students are given a subject-specific test at the start of each year and then a similar test at the end to gauge how much they learn in each teacher’s class. Give my students a physics test on September 1 and again in May. But I don’t really see the point. They aren’t expected to know much physics when they walk into my class as they haven’t had it since general science in 8th grade. They had biology in the 9th grade and chemistry in the 10th. But if we completely revamped the testing system in Texas to try to make it work for some merit pay system we would be getting away from the original purpose which is to determine if students are ready to graduate.

    These merit pay systems might work better in the elementary grades where students basically cover all subjects every year with a single teacher. But I see no realistic way of making them work at the HS level.

    That’s why I would advocate a school-wide merit pay system. Take all the schools in a big system like Houston or Los Angeles and look at the school-wide test scores in some fair manner that accounts for socioeconomic factors and the like. Then reward EVERY EMPLOYEE at the schools that exceed expectations. The teachers,the principals, the cafeteria workers, the security guards and maintenance workers. Everyone. That sort of approach is much more likely to lead to improved performance than some futile attempt to use standardized tests to rank teachers who teach disparate subjects to varying populations. I’d love to see how schools would operate if there was a $10,000 bonus in it for every single employee of a big urban high school that exceeded it’s expectations by x-amount. I want the custodians and bus drivers coming into my room and asking me what they can do to help. I want the security officers to be asking me which students they should be keeping track of and which they should be chasing down to bring to my class for after school tutorials. I want the veteran teachers who teach AP classes to college bound seniors to say “let me help out with some of those struggling freshman” Every single employee of a school helps set the tone for success. They should all be rewarded when a school turns around.

  14. Chris Smyr Says:

    Kent:

    “First, I’m not lambasting standardized testing. I’m criticizing it’s [sic] use for determining the effectiveness of secondary science teachers. The primary purpose of standardized testing is to determine whether students have mastered a certain set of material. That purpose is not necessarily consistent with the purpose of evaluating teachers. To the layman they might seem to be the same purpose but they are not.”

    Why would the degree to which “students mastered a certain set of material” not be a good indicator of teacher effectiveness? Isn’t that a main goal of teaching?

    “Students are not tested in every single subject every single year.”

    I agree that this is a problem.

    “A comprehensive science test that tested everything taught in each area of science would be 500 questions long and take 2 days to administer.”

    As you imply, it is infeasible to offer such a test. Instead, the better alternative would be a test that samples different aspects of different standards within each area of science to determine students’ overall understanding.

    “But if we completely revamped the testing system in Texas to try to make it work for some merit pay system we would be getting away from the original purpose which is to determine if students are ready to graduate.”

    Is it infeasible to offer a TAKS test once toward the end of high school to determine graduation eligibility *and* to offer yearly subject-specific tests? We do something similar in my district.

    “I’d love to see how schools would operate if there was a $10,000 bonus in it for every single employee of a big urban high school that exceeded it’s expectations by x-amount.”

    I imagine a shit-ton of infighting about how X, Y, and Z teachers aren’t pulling their weight and need to be disciplined. This is also an interesting argument in that I get the sense that you imply that the effectiveness of a teacher is largely shaped by the environment of the classroom, and yet here you’re arguing that the extra help from a passing custodian will give you the edge necessary to promote further student achievement. If the added help from a custodian is all it took to effect gains, what is preventing the teacher from effecting as much himself?

    You further assume that this approach is better “than some futile attempt to use standardized tests to rank teachers who teach disparate subjects to varying populations.” Well, schools have varying populations, too. Why do you assume there is an easy way to control for student variation on a school level, and yet there is no such way to do so on a classroom level?

  15. Kent Says:

    Chris: Which do you think will be the more efffective method of identifying and isolating/removing ineffective teachers from the classroom.

    1. Institute an individual evaluation system based on test scores that a majority of the staff haven’t bougt into and are likely to resist? And that will pit administrators against teachers?

    2. Institute a system in which every employee at the school has a financial incentive to see that struggling or ineffective teachers are either helped to improve or encourage to move on?

    As for my example of custodians. In my school most of the custodians are Hispanic immigrants so they are bilingual. Many of them are also highly skilled craftsmen with a lot of handy construction skills that go absolutely untapped because no one EVER asks them to do anthing but sweep floors and clean toilets. I could imagine a school where the talents of these people are actually brought into the education of students in dozens of different ways. Both in terms of their language and cultural knowledge, and in terms of their skills. There are many times when I could use help building different types of physics lab equipment, for example. And I could also use help when a kid walks into my classroom from Guatemala or El Salvador speaking no English. And that is on top of generally improving the physical environment of the school (fresh paint, waxed floors, etc.). How many schools around the US have any idea at all of what kind of untapped talents they have within their own walls in the custodial, food service and transportation staff? Not many I’m guessing. These people are often invisible to the “professionals” in the school. But give them a big financial incentive to improve the performance of the school and I’d be curious to see what comes of it. I’m sure they could help in thousands of ways that I can’t even imagine.

  16. Chalk Face Says:

    Not that I’ve sat and read through this vigorous debate above, but where does teacher preparation fit into all of this? Don’t teacher educators have a responsibility to churn out better teachers? One problem with that, however, is that schools of education need school sites more than the school sites need higher education. Thus, teacher education programs actually have little say in the matter, which makes it less likely that higher education institutions will bother to train teachers who meet the needs of schools, especially with regard to standardized testing and rationalized reading instruction. Teacher educators will encourage pre-service undergraduates to resist as long as they can before their spirit, ingenuity, and creativity is hopelessly crushed by the wonks and data-pornographers.

  17. Chris Smyr Says:

    Kent:

    1) Either scenario involves the same chances of pitting administrators against teachers, since in either case the admin are the ones performing the evaluations. If you base the decision solely on test scores instead of observations, then in either case the argument is the same: ‘it’s unfair to grade us on test results biased due to student variation!’

    2) Either scenario will offer a share of support and resistance, in that both involve differential salaries based on student achievement rather than the edu-standard of seniority.

    3) Either scenario gives incentive for struggling/ineffective teachers to improve, it’s just a matter of whom gets rewarded, and you’ve not shown why it’d be a dandy idea to grade school staff as a whole but a poor idea to grade teachers individually.

    ***

    And if you need help building something, why do you have to wait for admin to incentivize your efforts to ask someone for help? Just ask someone for help. I’m sure you can find a colleague that’s built something before, or even one that speaks Spanish. Later, you can even return the favor. A plan that rewards individuals might also encourage such giving and taking of said favors. Someone that doesn’t return favors will soon find himself without favors to spend.

    A pay-for-performance plan that includes all school employees would suffer from the same infighting I described before, but on a larger scale. Teacher A will be peeved when Custodian B chooses not to help build his physics lab setup, but that was never in the latter’s job description. Custodian B could just as well complain that Teacher A hasn’t helped remove the graffiti off the walls, as quickly doing so could improve the school’s image within the community. Security officer C will be adamant that Teacher A and Custodian B help respond to altercations at school and counsel kids afterward, instead of spending their time eating lunch in the teacher’s lounge. Incentivizing school employees to work together does not imply they will want to share responsibilities for tasks, nor should we simply assume that these interactions will all be positive. It’s also fairly outrageous to think that custodians have all this extra time to help every teacher translate or build something, since they would need to work extra hours outside of their shift to be able to do this work without impacting their official job duties.

    Finally, considering custodians could only ever effect a much, MUCH smaller impact than teachers could effect in the classroom, I highly doubt that any of the former would be willing to go along with a differential payment plan that relied on variables almost 100% outside of their influence. I mean, even teachers will sometimes argue that they shouldn’t be evaluated based on student performance since they aren’t the sole determinant in their kids’ success, and they’re the ones directly teaching the kids!

  18. Linda/RetiredTeacher Says:

    “ouija board approaches the unions like.”

    Unions do not hire, evaluate or fire teachers. Administrators do. Yes, union leaders can and do give their opinions and they can bargain for the number of formal evaluations, and things like that, but BY LAW THE EVALUATION OF A TEACHER IS DONE BY ADMINISTRATION.

    I always wanted to be evaluated based on children’s progress and I always thought that I was until recently! It’s not that difficult to do, but it requires that the principal, or another administrator, be familiar with the students’ levels of achievement at the beginning of the year and then again at the end of the year. Too time-consuming and expensive? Yes, and that’s the problem we have.

    When I was a fifth grade teacher in an a very low performing school in a suburb of L.A., I had 35 students, half of whom were very limited English-speaking. Many were years below grade level. When it was time to give the standardized test, there were very few items that tested the progress of the students in my class as most of the items were geared to fifth grade or slightly below or above.

    Some of the other teachers “solved” the problem by drilling the students on the exact test items (some teachers didn’t see anything wrong with that and still don’t) but I refused to do it. I solved the problem for myself by transferring to first grade where the test is not given.

    I believe this is the reason many teachers do not want to be judged by their students’ test scores. Most of these tests are at grade level but many of the students are not.

    A teacher CAN and SHOULD be evaluated on the basis of student progress, but common sense should tell people that it can’t be done on the basis of a ten dollar test.

  19. Gradbeno dovoljenje Says:

    So the assistant principal who is my direct supervisor has about 40 teachers to supervise and evaluate on top of her regular duties to be the disciplinarian for the 500 students in the school with last names ending in A-D which is itself nearly a full-time job. On top of that there are assistant principals on duty at nearly every sporting event and more than one at big events like football games. And they also sit in on most ARDs for special ed students in their alphabet range, review lesson plans, attend departmental planning meetings, supervise and assist substitutes who are always in the building gradbeno dovoljenje, investitor, geodeti, arhitekti duty at nearly every sporting event

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