Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Teacher Evaluations Suck

If Thomas Toch and Robert Rothman could have gotten that line past the editors, it would have been just as accurate a title asRush to Judgment: Teacher Evaluation in Public Education. From the blurb:
Because teacher evaluation is at the heart of the educational enterprise —the quality of teaching in the nation’s classrooms—it has the potential to be a powerful lever of teacher and school improvement. But that potential is being squandered throughout public education today.

A host of factors—a lack of accountability for school performance, staffing practices that strip school systems of incentives to take teacher evaluation seriously, union ambivalence, and public education’s practice of using teacher credentials as a proxy for teacher quality—have resulted in teacher evaluation systems throughout public education that are superficial, capricious, and often don’t even directly address the quality of instruction, much less measure students’ learning.
Still reading the actual report, but it doesn't take much of a genius to know that teacher evaluations are hard on the school's administration. In a typical elementary schools, and my daughter's school is pretty typical, there may be 22-25 classroom teachers, each of whom has to be evaluated. There is a principal, a vice principal and that is it for evaluators. There may be a "department head" but that is usually another classroom teacher.

Rothman and Toch make some recommendations--more on that to come.

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