I really enjoyed your piece on how to change education featuring the queen of all media, Lady Gaga. I have to admit, I am not a big fan of her music but, I knew the minute I saw her second video she was going to stick around. What has always impressed me is her ability to challenge perceptions and constantly evolve, two traits I hope teaching can take on as a profession in the future.
When I think about the story of teaching 2030 as it is becoming, I know that it is the story of a new generation of teachers. Many of these teachers are passionate and even more committed to creating a more equitable society than the group of teachers I started with 15 years ago. These teachers are willing to take risks and do what is right for kids but, they will also expect to be fairly judged on their practice and rewarded for their contribution. Recently a group of young teacher leaders in Denver took on the task of describing what they believe about being evaluated fairly and with the intention of making education better for students. Their report titled, Making Teacher Evaluation Work for Students: Voices from the Classroom (pdf) is a challenging perspective on what it means to evaluate with the intention of making teaching better for students. As I read the report I started thinking of one of your favorite ESPN segments, Odds Makers. The idea of percentages in public education policy has a kind of arm chair quarterback feel so I thought, why not try it here.
As I read the report I started thinking of one of your favorite ESPN segments, OddsMakers. The idea of percentages in public education policy has a kind of arm chair quarterback feel so I thought, why not try it here?
Let’s break down the laws of reason and join each other in this virtual space for a little OddsMakers session on teacher evaluation. Let’s kick it over to Anthony “There’s No Way I Thought I’d End Up In A Blog” Reali!
Reali: Alright, fellas. Here’s the first question. What percentage of the teacher evaluation system should be based on student assessment?
Holland: According to the report, in Colorado this will be 50% beginning next year. One thing I like that the report does is put the qualifier, “meaningful” in front of assessments. If the assessments are to be meaningful, I have to ask, meaningful to whom? I would say that student growth on assessments that are meaningful to the students themselves should be higher than 50%, maybe 70%. If, however, these assessments are meaningful to adults with the usual political and social agendas (like they are now), I think student assessment should be 35%. I say 35% because because I think that the specific context of a school or classroom can account for much more than 50% of a teacher’s effectiveness. I also think a teacher should be held accountable for more than 1/4 of that context. It could actually be higher in lower grades for students have not gone through the DING! process of individualization, like in preschool, but we don’t have time to quibble so, 35% of the evaluation should be assessment based.
Vilson: Yes, John. I’m totally with you there. What concerns me is the clowns who make too much of tests that aren’t supposed to be used for teacher effectiveness. If you ask kids what they prefer, they love the idea of portfolios and student-created assessments. Of course, teachers have their hands in it, but it can still be rigorous and student-created. Mostly. If it’s student and teacher-directed, I’m still with the 50%, but if there’s any tainting of state assessments in there, I’ll go as low as 15%!
Holland: One thing I think we agree on about assessments is that we need to move towards performance based assessments for students AND teachers!
Reali: Next up the importance of school context in teacher evaluation!
Images: It is with great respect and appreciation for Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon that we have “remixed” their images and the concept of Odds Makers from Pardon the Interruption. We also borrowed Anthony Reali’s image for verisimilitude. If you want to watch the image we remixed click here.