Teacher grades. Should they be made public?

Teachers in LA protested publication of effectiveness ratings based on student performance.

Teachers in LA protested publication of effectiveness ratings based on student performance.

Should parents know how well their children’s teachers score on effectiveness scales?

Using its federal Race to the Top grant, Georgia will start grading teachers in part on how much “value” they have added to a student’s learning, based on progress reflected in test scores.

“For teacher effectiveness measure, 50 percent will be based on the academic growth of students,” said Erin Hames, chief of staff at the Georgia Department of Education and the coordinator of the state’s Race to the Top efforts.

But while parents will be able get the average teacher effectiveness scores for a school, they will not be privy to individual job ratings, says Hames.

At a meeting with Atlanta Journal-Constitution education reporters and editors last week, Hames; Brad Bryant, state school superintendent; Martha Reichrath, deputy state superintendent for standards, instruction and assessment; and Bob Swiggum, DOE chief information officer, presented an update on the reforms that Georgia will fund with its $400 million Race to the Top grant.

Twelve applicants, including Georgia, won grants this year. A key criterion to winning was adoption of policies to measure the effectiveness of individual teachers and leaders. But it is also the most controversial aspect of Race to the Top, the $4.35 billion federal incentive program designed to spur innovation by awarding grants to the states with the most progressive and well-developed plans to improve k-12 education.

Teacher evaluations that hinge on student test scores are so controversial that they are often kept confidential. The Los Angeles Times sparked a national uproar this summer when it used the California Public Records Act to obtain elementary school test data and then analyzed how effective teachers were at improving their students’ performance on standardized tests in math and reading.

The Times created a searchable database that allows parents to obtain information on specific teachers, setting off teacher protests in the streets and a furious debate on the fairness of releasing teacher ratings.
In justifying its analysis, the Times said in a statement, “The Los Angeles Unified School District has had the underlying data in hand for years but has not used them to inform parents — or teachers themselves — about how instructors are doing. The Times made the decision to release the information because it bears on the performance of public employees who provide an important service, and in the belief that parents and the public have a right to judge it for themselves.”

Urging his 40,000 outraged union members to boycott the Times, A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, said: “You’re leading people in a dangerous direction, making it seem like you can judge the quality of a teacher by … a test.”

A similar battle is under way  in New York where the teachers union is challenging the decision by the New York public schools to release ratings for nearly 12,000 teachers based on student test scores.

New York uses a nuanced rating system that categorizes teachers “high,” “above average,” “average,” “below average” or “low” based on how their students fared on the state tests compared to other students with similar demographic characteristics.

The teachers union argues that the data is flawed and that the resulting negative labels and trumpeted news stories — “The 100 worst teachers in the Big Apple” — could haunt teachers forever.

In a Manhattan courtroom this month, United Federation of Teachers attorney Charles G. Moerdler told the judge: “The information has no critical basis other than to facilitate a libel. … Just because it’s a number, it doesn’t mean it’s suddenly objective.”

\But the attorney for media organizations who support a public airing of the data said New York’s open records law mandates release of the teacher information. In addition, the attorney said teachers work for the taxpayers of New York who deserve to know the quality of  service they are getting for their money.

“People who are doing work at taxpayer expense recognize they have a diminished expectation of privacy with respect to their jobs” said attorney David Schulz in court.

Hames said that the DOE intends to use effectiveness data to help improve classroom instruction by identifying which teachers need help and in what areas.

Now, parents in Georgia receive little formal information about how teachers perform, relying on word of mouth to scope out the best teachers.

The Georgia DOE doesn’t intend to delve into the debate over whether parents deserve to see individual teacher data, says Hames, explaining that it will fall to the General Assembly to decide whether individual teacher ratings should be released to the public.

– By Maureen Downey for the AJC Get Schooled blog

158 comments Add your comment

Rob

December 19th, 2010
11:31 pm

I don’t have a problem my effectiveness score being published as long as it is balanced with a posting of my students willingness to learn. I teach middle school and the biggest problem we face as educators these days (besides discipline) is apathy. Students come to us thinking everything has to be fun (too often their idea of fun is hanging out and socializing with their friends). I’m all for fun but it’s a balancing act; I have 31 weeks to teach a 36 week curriculum plus critical skills such as reading for comprehension, critical thinking skills, note taking skills, etc. Learning to take good notes, read text, identify key ideas is not always fun besides I don’t believe their future employers will be concerned with whether they are having fun or not.

Danielle

December 19th, 2010
11:34 pm

Who will rate the parents? Sad.

Doris M

December 19th, 2010
11:46 pm

In light of the APS cheating episode, can we trust the scores of the students?

eddawg

December 19th, 2010
11:46 pm

Let’s just cheat like they do in APS … seriously you don’t think it won’t become more widespread.

ScienceTeacher671

December 19th, 2010
11:54 pm

Agree with Rob…also, by the time they get to HS, so many have been socially promoted that (1) they really don’t have the skills to do HS level work, and (2) they don’t take the tests seriously because they’ve been “taught” through their earlier committee promotions that the test scores don’t matter anyway, and that they will pass no matter whether or not they do the work or master the material.

Elaine

December 20th, 2010
12:09 am

This is another of the dozens of ideas that sound much better in theory than in practice. The complicated thing about evaluating teachers by their students’ test scores is the presence of SO many variables. I’ll state upfront that I teach in a Title 1 school, and my scores have been quite high for the past five years — so I would have no problem with those scores being released. But scores alone aren’t the most valid or fair way to evaluate a teacher’s effectiveness, for several reasons.

– My students often come to me reading 2+ years below grade level. If I raise my students’ reading level two years — an impressive jump — then it still might not be enough for them to pass the CRCT (which, of course, is negligible since the kids only have to get half the questions right to “pass”).

– Students in high-performing schools often have an easier time passing the test. If a teacher starts the year with 98% of her students passing the test, would she be required to get the same percentage on April’s test? What if several factors combine to mean several students fail who had passed the year before — would the teacher then be downgraded and marked as “unsuccessful”? (And, well, should a teacher in a high-performing school be deemed equally as effective as a teacher with a much more difficult job in a low-income school where the passing percentages aren’t as high?)

– People like to judge by data, so I can see the appeal of publishing test scores; however, I’d hate to create a “rankings” culture at the school, in which parents judge teachers (and teachers judge each other) by a number on a website. There are some teachers at my school who are amazing, but their scores would probably rank below mine. And there are others who always manage to get high scores, but I wouldn’t necessarily put my own children in their classrooms.

Fled

December 20th, 2010
12:30 am

Had enough yet, teachers? As long as you take it, they will keep dishing it out.

Give up on Georgia. Quit. Throw in the towel. Move.

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Nikole

December 20th, 2010
1:13 am

Value-added models have a 26% error rate when assessing individuals, but are a better indicator for building performance.

Cindy Lutenbacher

December 20th, 2010
1:17 am

I do wonder when enough of us will scream, “ENOUGH!!!” There’s no reputable research to support test scores as a useful measure of anything except family income and private test prep (usually tied to family income). Otherwise, test scores are completely meaningless and useless, not to mention dangerous. Why in the world are we as a citizenry willing to accept this barrage of media “catapulting the propaganda” about test scores? Not only should the test scores of teachers’ students be kept private; the tests themselves should be abolished. Without this feckless crutch of standardized tests, perhaps public education would be required to create truly meaningful assessments. (Hint: there are already loads of forms of meaningful assessment strategies that truly do show what students can do.)
The issue of publicizing classroom scores should not even be a question.

Just a Thought

December 20th, 2010
3:11 am

From the DOE website:

Value‐added score. Georgia will contract with a value‐added provider to develop a statewide value‐added model (VAM) to calculate value‐added scores at the teacher level. VAMs are a collection of complex statistical techniques that use multiple years of students’ test score data to estimate the effects of individual schools or teachers on student learning. These scores will be calculated based on standardized tests currently available in Georgia, such as Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (CRCTs) in Reading, English‐Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science for grades 1‐8 and End of Course Tests (EOCTs) in high school courses.

1) Only teachers in tested subjects (about 30% of teachers) will have value‐added scores. Georgia does not plan to create new summative tests in non‐core subjects.

2) Quantitative VAM component will constitute at least 50% of overall TEM for teachers in tested subjects and at least 50% of LEM for all school building leaders.

I don’t see how this will work. I teach high school where only certain grades are tested. In my area it’s only 11th and 12th grade which means their last test score would be 8th grade. Comparing a high school EOCT to the CRCT is comparing apples and oranges. Not to mention they will put the strongest teachers in the tested areas leaving the weaker teachers with NO pressure and NO reason to get better. The stonger teachers will carry even more of the burden and have to endure even more scrutiny and pressure. Everyone else will get to coast while your stronger teachers work 10 times as hard (which they already do). I don’t think that is supposed to be the goal of all of this.

What’s needed is a true pre- and post assessment for the courses that have EOCT. How can you have value added for a totally different test, in a totally different school (middle school), with totally different teachers? The very basis of the data will be skewed.

A true VAM model should have a baseline measure at the beginning of the year. Have a true baseline measure and then maybe we can talk. That and bringing reading specialists to the high school level for low-performing schools. It’s the reading that’s the problem and the state needs to adddress it before they start putting grades next to my name.

Just a Thought

December 20th, 2010
3:14 am

Pardon the typo. It’s 3am and I am up writing lesson plans on Day 1 of my break. Sigh.

Value-added reporting flaws?

December 20th, 2010
3:21 am

Testing data is an important tool to help students improve,but should not
be the determining factor in teacher effectiveness. The Los Angeles Times
rated a particular teacher ineffective based upon the testing data,but when
I actually viewed the students’ test scoresby grade level,I found out that
the teacher was part of a grade level team that had 95% of the students
test proficient in math one year and 89% judged proficient a previous year.
How could a math teacher be judged ineffective if 95% of the students in
the respective grade level were proficient ? The data was meant to be used
to improve students’ skills and instruction, and not as an evaluating tool.

It will be interesting watching rural schools' scores

December 20th, 2010
4:57 am

I teach American literature in a south Georgia county. We are a small system – one elementary school, one middle school, one high school. The turnover rate is practically nil. We basically have one teacher per grade per discipline in high school. I teach every eleventh grader in the school. For 15 years, students have had the same middle and high school teachers, and most had the same elementary school teachers. The principals at all three schools have been here as principals 15+ years. My students’ pass rates for the language arts graduation test vacillate between 87% and 98% each year, but one year I had 100% to pass. My question: if I am using the same methods of teaching with few revisions, and if I am using the same textbook with upgrades every seven years, and if the students are having the same teachers before coming to my room, and if the administrators are the same, yet the scores fluctuate between 87% and 98%, can my effectiveness really be determined by test scores? I suppose if due to illness I had missed many days of school, or if I were going through a personal crisis, such as divorce, one could make the argument that my students did worse due to those issues. Fortunately, my life has been very happy and stable. What then could be the variable(s) that impacted the test scores? Easy answer – one year I had 17 students out of 100 identified as gifted and only three with learning disabilities. Another year I had 14 students with IQs of 74-76, 6 of whom had learning disabilities, and only 3 students identified as gifted (again, out of a class of 100). One year I had a class that if I walked into class and said we are going to dig a hole in the ground today, they immediately started planning: “This hole is going to be the deepest and the widest, and we will line it with plastic sheeting and then build a tunnel to a second hole.” In other words, they approached any assignment with enthusiasm and gusto while the same assignment another year with another class would have the following response: “Does a golf divot count as a hole in the ground?”

I realize where I teach is unique. However, if test scores are going to be 50% of my evaluation, am I going to be rated highly effective one year and then sorry as @#$% the next? Even though I try to tailor my instruction to meet the needs of each student and class, anyone with one eye and half a brain can see that the primary variables in the above situations are the students and the composition of each class, not the teachers (prior and present), not the administration, not even the curriculum.

I understand that the VAM is going to consider test scores over a period of time in its assessment of teachers, but do we really have that much confidence in test scores? I certainly do not. Now some may assert that I just made the argument for value-added assessment, suggesting that I took my students from where they were academically and took them as far as I could. However, if all the teachers in my system do that (and they do), and if the test scores for a particular class over 12 years of school bear out that the class as a whole typically scores very high or very low on standardized tests, can we really determine which teacher added value? With the new data information system which allows teachers to track individual student progress, we should be able to determine which teachers added value to each particular student. Really? Do you think the fact that Johnny’s parents divorced in ninth grade during standardized testing time, and the fact that Susie blossomed as a student in 11th grade where she developed some self-confidence, and the fact that Richard decided to take his studies seriously because he is now a college football prospect had anything to do with test scores being higher or lower?

Communism is the best form of government and easily beats democracy – communism in theory, that is. What could be a better form of government where everyone contributes equally to society and takes equally from society? Nothing could be better, but communism cannot work because it involves the governing of people, many different kinds of people. Value-added assessment would be great if all students were the same, but they are not.

Vento

December 20th, 2010
5:27 am

Classic! I think now, that in ten years or so the feds will own up to the fact that too many people expect to be given an education instead of earning an education.

Questions

December 20th, 2010
5:38 am

1. In LA and New York where VAM scores are being published with the teacher’s name and effectiveness rating, are the number of days absent or suspended noted for each student that the teacher taught? I can’t teach those who aren’t in my classroom and don’t come to school regardless of the reason.
2. For RTTT school districts that are going to implement the VAM method of rating teacher effectiveness, what happens to those who don’t teach a subject with a standardized test score (i.e. Band, Chorus, Art, Auto mechanics, French, Computer Programming, etc.)? My understanding is that their effectiveness will continue to be based on classroom observations done by administrators and peers. How is this different than what is currently being done as far as teacher evaluations? How is this fair to the teachers who teach in the four core areas (English, Math, Science and Social Studies)? You have different types of teacher effectiveness ratings depending on what you teach and there is no consistency.

Elizabeth

December 20th, 2010
7:14 am

See how many people will stop teaching core subjects when and if this happens. And as for judging by test scores, my test scores are always high regardless of the kids I have. Why? because I am a tough teacher who does not do a lot of group work or try to make everything fun. What does that mean to me and my evaluation? I am always bombarded by parents who complain that I am “too hard” and “too strict and demanding” on their little darlings. I am harrassed by administrators who complain that I “give” too many failing grades and that this must be my fault, even though the little darlings who failed refused to read or write anything in my classroom. I am told that I must be on the same page in my curriculum with the other teachers in my subject SYSTEMWIDE, not school wide. Publishing my “score” is irrelevent unless all factors are included. Even if they are, I cannot publish a kid’s grade. My” score” is a private matter between me and my employer. When and if it ceases to be private will be the day I file my own lawsuit for invasion of privacy.

Ernest

December 20th, 2010
7:45 am

If each student had an IEP and the growth model was used as a basis of reporting scores, this might have some merit. Otherwise, we’ll go see an inflated representation of the information so no one looks bad.

It is hard to develop an objective measure of teacher performance given each child is unique and make have different requirements/needs to help them with the learning process. A report card on teacher attendance is probably one of a few things that could be shared that might provide some insight.

teacher&mom

December 20th, 2010
7:56 am

@It will be interesting…the comments and questions you posted are excellent. I doubt you’ll get an answer because the DOE (Federal and state levels) know the short-comings of VAM’s. They know there is a 25% inaccuracy rate. They don’t care.

One day we will look back on this movement and equate it to the Salem witch trials.

Maureen Downey

December 20th, 2010
8:05 am

@Elaine, According to DOE, you will be judged on how far you move students from where they were when they entered your class. So moving them forward is still a plus, regardless of whether they are at grade level or do well on the CRCT. Assessments will be changing to reflect the Common Core, so I am not sure what test students in Georgia will take, but you will be judged on their growth within your classroom.
Maureen

teacher&mom

December 20th, 2010
8:10 am

teacher&mom

December 20th, 2010
8:17 am

Maureen Downey

December 20th, 2010
8:19 am

@teacher&mom, DOE is working with other states on the fairest value-added methodology and will be piloting whatever is chosen in those 26 county systems before a statewide rollout. I think the teacher feedback from those counties will help inform the debate. I saw a great concern among the DOE brass that teachers participate in the process and have confidence in whatever system is finally chosen.
Maureen

Happy Teacher

December 20th, 2010
8:28 am

If I’m a parent, I certainly want to know which teachers can overcome all the excuses that seem to affect the teachers on this blog. There are lots of great teachers that can increase scores despite the things that hold so many others back, so why shouldn’t parents know who they are?

What's best for kids?

December 20th, 2010
8:37 am

Funny video on The Onion…it’s about test bias for some students. Language excluded, the point is valid. Google the onion test bias.

Maureen Downey

December 20th, 2010
8:38 am

@Happy Teacher, Regardless of the DOE stance, I think once Georgia begins to grade teachers parents will push for release of the data. It will fall to the General Assembly — or the courts if it becomes an open records question — to make the decision. Right now, there are systems, including my own, that conduct Measures of Adequate Progress or MAP testing. The test charts student growth in core areas. So, it would be possible to release data on how far teachers have moved their kids over a year. (Kids are MAP tested several times a year.)
Maureen

Scienceteacher 4

December 20th, 2010
8:42 am

I taught middle and high school for 10 years until I took a break. The reason I took this break was because I was disappointed in my students behavior and test scores. I would give my students my all during the school year. But unfortunately at the end of the semester they would just mark any old answer on the EOCT. They knew the material. They chose not to put forth an effort to pass. They believed the test didn’t matter. It could only drop their grade a point or two. I’ve even had students tell me that our scores keep you working.

When you evaluate teachers this way the students know this and refuse to take responsibility for their own learning. Parents read this and take even less responsibility for their kids education because now they have someone to blame for their kids not learning. Forget the fact that I called them several times for cell phone abuse in class and discipline problems.

Teachers are already burnt out with classroom management and trying to accomplish all the tasks put on them by administrators. Here’s a suggestion for the people making these rules. Just step back into the classroom as a substitute teacher for just one week. Get an understanding of the students that teachers are teaching now. Instead of wasting resources degrading teachers find some way to use the money to reach these kids that have no desire to learn but love to socialize.

Tom Teacher

December 20th, 2010
8:43 am

The greatest variable in student success is home life. So sad that our careers will be tied to something we have no control over. Parents raise a child to be disrespectful and place no value on education and then they come and disrupt learning for the entire class and refuse to do work…and we are graded on this…something is fishy.

northatlantateacher

December 20th, 2010
8:50 am

I don’t have a problem with this – except for only certain teachers in core subjects are the ones who will have this info published.
It’s already a problem and it burns me up that we have people with a PhD from an online university diploma mill that teach PE all day and have virtually no accountability. So now their job gets even less stressful? You’ve got to be kidding me. I even had a very observant student ask me why I chose to teach a subject heavy in grading and testing rather than teach an elective, or PE. He pointed out that I would be making the same money! True, true.

Without a doubt, anyone who is in a teaching position needs to be judged the same way.

TopPublicSchool

December 20th, 2010
8:54 am

The inept administration will need to be evaluated first. Why not just put a camera on everyone all the time? or an ankle bracelet with a tape recorder. Maybe that will make them do the right thing.

The internal voice to “do the right thing” has slowly died in our society. When cameras, video-tapes, and tape-recorders are the only means of regulating the illegal vile actions of the human race our society is doomed to fail. We must make sure as parents and teachers the internal voice of honesty and ethics is never erased. It is the “saving grace” of our future.

http://www.TopPublicSchoolCorruptionAtlanta.com

CEASE and DESIST- Georgia Association of Educators
http://www.youtube.com/user/TopSchoolAtlanta#p/u/28/n9mBrrgQOpU

jj

December 20th, 2010
8:55 am

As I read through all the responses ont thing became very apparant; When did educational success become 100% about the teacher? I believe there are students in there somewhere.

TopPublicSchool

December 20th, 2010
9:06 am

Don’t you think if teachers could screw that nut on the bolt they would do it?
This is a human being…having a human experience. Does the public think a teacher can motivate every student to learn by following a recipe?…a workbook for total teaching and results…it is called home schooling.

Have you ever heard the saying…”when the student is ready…the teacher will appear?”

Should we apply the same rules for parenting? This is not an easy topic to discuss. Anyone in the teaching profession knows there are multiple facets to the learning process. There is not a “definite” simple measuring tool. If there was …Thomas Edison would have stayed in school and conformed to the norm of public education.

Happy Teacher

December 20th, 2010
9:08 am

Administrators are evaluated, and removed, on the basis of student performance all the time.

And students are constantly graded and most often live lives that are very consistent with how they perform in school. Their families are often negatively affected by any poor performance as well.

So both of those parts of the equation are evaluated regularly and have consequences based off of their performance. Seems to me that teachers are now just being included also…

teacher&mom

December 20th, 2010
9:15 am

@Maureen…I hope you are correct. I also hope the DOE provides an open and transparent process for teachers to provide feedback. Too often they will post an obscure link on the DOE web site asking for input or conduct public meetings….during the school day…which basically eliminates a huge portion of teachers.

Too many teachers feel that the DOE is open for feedback that supports their current initiatives but blocks out the negative feedback. The DOE has a trust issue that Mr. Barge will need to address if this is going to work.

For this to work, there needs to be a sense of “reciprocal” feedback. If I have an administrator that does not provide classroom support (school-wide discipline, basic supplies, safe school climate, etc), then I should be able to have a voice in how that affects the learning environment. I should be allowed to evaluate my administrators at the building level, district and state levels. They need this data to understand how their decisions affect the classroom teacher. If they fail to utilize the feedback they receive, they should be held accountable.

@Happy Teacher….most parents know exactly who those great teachers are without the DOE publishing a list. Just sit in the stands at the local soccer game and listen to the parents’ conversations :)

Hey Teacher

December 20th, 2010
9:22 am

Growth is very difficult to measure in say, a gifted class when students are already performing at the top level, or with seniors, whose performance takes a huge nose-dive second semester. This is just one more piece of red tape that will force talented teachers out the door.

veteran teacher

December 20th, 2010
9:22 am

Problems with this idea:
1. Effective teachers will refuse student teachers because they will not want their scores impacted by a novice teacher. Good luck to the colleges on placing student teachers.
2. Who is going to volunteer to teach the co-taught special ed/regular ed classrooms? Currently, we have teachers who will volunteer and do this with a great attitude. Good luck to the parents of special ed students.
3. How are principals going to move all thise children out of the teacher’s room who has a lower score? Principals are going to have to deal with a lot of phone calls and conferences at the beginning of the school year to meet with the mean mama bears who want only the best for their cub. Good luck administrators.
4. All those students and their parents are going to have a great deal of boring homework to do that looks just like mini tests. We teachers are great at making practice tests. We have been doing it for ten years. Good luck parents and students. (yawn)
5. Testing companies will need to revamp thier tests to get systems to buy certain publishers materials. Oh, wait. Silly me. They are the ones who have had the good luck all along.

Rob

December 20th, 2010
9:25 am

@Happy Teacher
“If I’m a parent, I certainly want to know which teachers can overcome all the excuses that seem to “affect the teachers on this blog. There are lots of great teachers that can increase scores despite the things that hold so many others back, so why shouldn’t parents know who they are?”
Parents have a right, but it won’t do any good if they can’t request that teacher. In my system you can’t pick and choose teachers. So what good would doing know.
I’m a parent of three boys 4, 8 and 14 and I understand the realities of education as both a parent and an educator. There is much a teacher can do (provide proper instruction, minimize disruptions), and there is much a parent can do (provide support for their child, get tutoring when necessary), but ultimately learning is up to the individual student.
By the way those of us that are giving “excuses” are merely pointing out the realities that many of us face. Some teachers are more fortunate than others in that the communities we serve have a higher socioeconomic status and are more likely to have higher test scores and the appearance of a being a more effective teacher. Some teachers are given more support than others as well i.e. math and reading as their scores county where as language arts and history are tested but they don’t count thus they don’t get as much support.

Who is John Galt?

December 20th, 2010
9:32 am

This is what happens when politicians and other non-educators think they know more about teaching and assessment than the professional educators. When my annual salary and professional reputation is based on a 60 question test that the students finish in about 30 minutes (and, for them, doesn’t “count”), can you imagine how my teaching will change? For what career are we preparing our students? Is there a profession out there that demands the ability to answer multiple choice questions?

sadly, i do believe in publishing teacher effectiveness scores

December 20th, 2010
9:34 am

i feel horrible about agreeing with the premise of grading teachers by the performance of their students, but that is simply the bottom line, isn’t it: are students assigned to your subject area performing well on measures of achievement? we can argue the pros and cons all we want, but if the students are not performing we cannot point at them and say, “well, they didn’t want to learn, so i couldn’t teach them.” GET ANOTHER JOB if that is your attitude. i teach middle school band and i believe that students in my program succeed primarily because i align instructional goals with testing material. our district and state music association has clearly stated expectations for recognizing quality performances of individual students, small ensembles, and large ensembles. my curriculum is designed to help students achieve success in all areas and, as a result, the students are prepared musically to achieve in several different compentency areas. this is the way of the world, folks, so get used to it: teachers MUST stop falling back on the apathy excuses and find ways to reach students. publishing the results of the combined efforts of teachers and students in attaining standards-based education success is a positive step in the right direction.

Goodbye teaching

December 20th, 2010
9:35 am

Spot on, Veteran Teacher. This is my last year in the classroom. I am over the “blame the teacher” movement as are many other teachers I know. I have no issue with accountability, but EVERYONE should be held accountable including students and parents; however, they never are held accountable for anything. I am done.

God Bless the Teacher!

December 20th, 2010
9:35 am

Let’s talk PE. Will a PE teacher be deemed ineffective if at the end of the year a child who began the year obese is still obese?

The VAM is one more way the state wants to pigeonhole EVERY student to be the same. If that’s the case, then stop expecting me to differentiate for each little darling’s individual learning styles, needs, and whims so they can feel warm and fuzzy when they leave my classroom.

Nothing in public education will improve until parents and students are held accountable for student learning.

Pius Paul

December 20th, 2010
9:36 am

The US is paying more for public education than any other industrialized country. Should parents not be entitled to see what they are paying for?? Good teachers have nothing to fear. Those who fear, probably should not be teaching!

Math Teacher

December 20th, 2010
9:37 am

Maureen, you said that the teachers will be graded based on student growth during the year, but I don’t see how that will be possible. If the CRCT is an 8th grade test covering 8th grade material, it will only show whether the student is on 8th grade level or not. If all I have is a yardstick, with no markings on it, I can’t tell if my child has grown three inches or even a foot. I can only tell whether he is taller or shorter than a yard.

Also, what is the purpose of this? Even if this was released to the public, what would it accomplish besides giving parents a reason to complain that their child is in the class of a bad teacher? The “unsuccesful” teachers will still be teaching somebody.

Maureen Downey

December 20th, 2010
9:40 am

@Math, Georgia is one of the states developing new testing to go along with the new Common Core standards. I think the new tests will deal with your concerns. The state will have to develop growth model tests, similar to what I mentioned in an earlier response, the MAP testing that some districts, including Decatur, already use.
DOE wants the effectiveness measures to satisfy Race to the Top and to provide away to identify and remediate lagging teachers. However, these grades will also eventually play into performance reviews and ultimately, in my view, teacher pay.
As to the public’s access, I think the argument will be that as taxpayers paying the bulk of their taxes for education, they have a right to see all data, including teacher grades simply as part of open and transparent government.
Maureen

Hermione

December 20th, 2010
9:45 am

To me, the key to trusting this type of teacher evaluation is whether or not we can trust the testing instrument. Having taught upper elementary for several years, I am aware that the tests across these grade levels are not the same. They seem to get more rigorous in the higher grades. That would make it difficult to compare how a child performs from year to year, as both the curriculum and the tests become more rigorous.

northatlantateacher

December 20th, 2010
9:46 am

@Happy Teacher

“And students are constantly graded and most often live lives that are very consistent with how they perform in school. Their families are often negatively affected by any poor performance as well.”

Huh? How do they live lives that are consistent with how they perform in school? I have students fail – I don’t mean an F – I mean fail for their abilities, whether that be an F or C or even a B – all the time. Rarely do I have a parent question that grade or punish a student based on that grade. Is this what you mean? And how are their families negatively effective if they do not support their child’s education?

I agree with a lot of what you say, but I also see that you must teach to a very specific population with a great deal of support – both from the community and your admin. Often your POV is really admirable but not realistic.

northatlantateacher

December 20th, 2010
9:51 am

Me

December 20th, 2010
9:51 am

“Assessments will be changing to reflect the Common Core, so I am not sure what test students in Georgia will take, but you will be judged on their growth ON SOME SORT OF MULTIPLE CHOICE TEST within your classroom.”

Fixed that for you Maureen.

teacher&mom

December 20th, 2010
10:06 am

What's best for kids?

December 20th, 2010
10:09 am

@sadly, i do believe in publishing teacher effectiveness scores
Are you kidding me???? You teach BAND! An ELECTIVE!!!! Kids want to be in your class.