Measuring teacher effectiveness: Day 1


>These past few days I have been blogging about this idea of measuring teacher effectiveness. To do this properly, the rule seems to me that the powers-that-be are going to have to use multiple measures.

And when I say multiple, I mean multiple.

First off, test scores. Fine, you want them so bad, I'll put them on the table. (And this is coming from a guy who is Mr. Anti-Bubble test so this is no small concession on my part - but since I know how much they mean to you, I'll toss in the first olive branch.)

But you gotta give me a few things in order for me to believe that measuring my effectiveness has been fairly rendered.

I want my peers weigh in on me. That's right, my peers. They may be scallywags and rascals, but if you create an anonymous system whereby the teachers in my department can give me a score, I think that there will be some merit to be found in their aggravate evaluation.

Let's say we use a 10 point scale. Is your peer, Mr. Alan an effective teacher? (Please, for the sake of me not having to explicate an entire survey, know that, of course, the peer survey will be more than 1 mere vague question -- I am trying to make a point here, so please, cut me some slack.)

And so, back to the question: Please rank Mr. Alan on a scale from 1 to 10 (ten being the highest).

Throw out the top score and throw out the bottom and I think you get a picture. Not a crystal clear picture, but hey, fellow teachers know our peers to some extent and if across the board for 3 years in a row, a person is scoring 2's and 1's on the peer evaluation survey, I'd say that it reflects something bigger than a "nobody around here likes me" issue.

Year one is an anomaly. Year 2 is an indication. Three years in a row. That's smoke... and perhaps there's fire.

Besides, I will have to trust the professionalism of my colleagues to try and do what's right. (I mean HOLY JEEZ, we have to start trusting one another!) Besides, the ELA Dept is not Lord of the Flies and railroading someone out of political conspiracy just for the sake of a power grab doesn't seem very likely to happen to a teacher that colleagues feel is actually doing a good job of, well, teaching.

I know, the cynics will tell me, "Oh, I am SOOOOOOOO wrong!" (Did I mention the trust factor? We're being trusted with the lives of kids but we can't trust one another to simply be honest on a simple survey. We really need to get a grip.)

Ultimately, the dude down the hall might be a schmuck, but if he's a good teacher, I am going to have to be a big enough boy to recognize that if the kids are being well served by him, that should count for something -- and I can give him a 7 instead of a 9 because he has a grumpy disposition. Whatever. But if he's not a 2 I won't give that to him.

Plus, knowing that he's gonna have a chance to weigh in on me, well, it certainly tamps down my desire to be contentious... at least with a person who is doing their job.

As far as the opposite conspiracy taking place ("Hey man, you give me a ten and I'll give you a ten, okay?") the thing about teachers is, way too many of us are like Atticus Finch and would respond with some kind of comment like, "It's nothing personal, but my integrity prohibits me from making any such deal as aspects like this could undermine the entire American education system... and that's a system to which I believe we must contribute honesty."

Come on, you know you are out there. How many of you would really give a 10 to a teacher who you thought was a three simply so that they would return the favor in kind?

Like I said, Atticus lives.

Multiples measures for measuring teacher effectiveness will continue tomorrow... post is growing too long.

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