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So let's have a serious conversation about how to fairly evaluate teachers. Let's just stipulate that there is some fair method for evaluating teachers and then try to find it. If you were a principal of a school how could you evaluate a teacher and reward for great performance? How could you provide training for teachers that need help? What is a fair way to replace teachers that cannot improve sufficiently?

First, I suggest we start with the SMART principle for objective setting:
Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Reasonable
Timely

E.g. By then end of the first month of math class, 90% of students must be proficient and single digit multiplication. At the end of month 3, 90% proficient in double-digit multiplication. (Just and example, not supposed to be real).

Test Scores. A lot of people say it is unfair to use test scores. Different teachers have different quality students from different socio-economic backgrounds I agree, test scores should not be the major piece, but must be considered somehow.

Idea: start by measuring student growth and improvement from beginning to end of year - so it is relative to your own class, not a standardized US average. Is the teacher able to progress the students at a specified rate agreed to by teachers an principals as reasonable and necessary to move the students to next grade?

Student evaluation: This should be a small part but even first graders can provide reasonable input. It would be a small part, but could give trends or patterns for the principal to evaluate. For instance, if every first grader says Mr Smith is a stupid-head, but the same students say Ms Jones is awesome, then the principal has to figure out why this is. If a lot of students say Mr. Butts is a mumbler and talks facing the chalk board, then that is a problem that can be addressed, and if not fixed, dealt with in other ways.

Classroom evaluation: very important to have experienced teachers and administrators to perform these frequently. Can this be done fairly (on average)?

Peer Evaluation: For the most part, I can tell which of my peers work really hard and are productive. I can see those that clock out after their 40 hours a week. I can see those that leave, not when the clock hits a certain time, but only have they finish their task, 10, 20, 30 minutes after "quitting time". I can see which people help the team, use their expertise to train and grow others. Learn fast. Make few or many mistakes. My input to their bosses is useful and necessary for fair evaluations. On average, is it possible and reasonable to get useful inputs from other teachers?

Parent Evaluation: Difficult, would have to be a small piece. Can this be useful in any way? Can it be implemented?

Rewards. the Bell curve can usually apply to most things. There are a few people on the great end, a few on the bad end and most are "in the middle". I imagine you see this with your students. They all don't get A's and F's. How is it fair to use this "fact"?

A proposal: say that 25% of the population will be high performers,70% successful performers and 5% low performers. The 70% the COLA, plus or minus a small percent. the 25% get COLA plus x%. the 5% low get 0%. Yes 0%.

The highs can then be offered additional bonuses to pass along their methods and techniques to others. They can be paid extra to teach summer classes and mentor the low teachers. The can be offered opportunity to skip the classroom for a year or semester and instead be a full time observer to other classrooms where the can help other teachers grow. They then would have extremely valuable and fair input for peer reviews.

The lows would be provided with fair opportunity to improve. they would receive help from experts during the year as noted above. They would be required to take certain training during the summer. If they get a second, or maybe third low rating, they can be fired. No consideration for tenure or seniority. Or, after 2 lows in a row, they go on Union paid salary and benefits until the union can train them properly or until the union fires them from the union payroll for being untrainable. (I think that is a pretty nifty compromise, the teacher is not laid off and the union gets a chance to really work for the teacher).

In my humble opinion, there should be no tenure and no guarantees for seniority. Just merit. If you get a high rating 3 years in a row or 5 years in a row, another reward is that you get "Five-ure" (yes, a pun) They get a guaranteed contract for 5 years, not for life. If the last 3 years of their Five-ure are high ratings, they get another 5 year guarantee.

Successful-rated teachers continue to get fair cost of living raises, but no guaranteed jobs. (Although you must lay off all lows before laying off the first successful. )

I am trying to be honest, fair and reasonable and would like a truly honest and thoughtful discussion like you would demand of student in a debate or philosophy class. Address it intellectually, not emotionally. I am willing to admit I could be naive or wrong on many or all things. Show me reasonably and come up with a better option. thanks.

Here are some ideas for college professors and teachers...
http://www.crlt.umich.edu/tstrategies/guidelines
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In all honesty, there's a lot here I could probably get behind.

One company I worked for did "360 degree evaluations" and that would be similar to what you're suggesting. Co-workers had an input on evals as well as supervisors.

I would like to see peer reviews and even peer coaching. This, then, becomes an issue of logistics. How do I evaluate you without leaving my own classroom? The obvious answer is during prep period (for middle/high school teachers). What if your prep period is the same as mine? Then I have to get a sub to teach my class while I'm evaluating you. Not impossible, of course, but adds complexity.

What if. . . .What if a teacher has very innovative lessons, the students love him/her, s/he communicates well with parents, but their test scores remain the same? How is that evaluated?


A proposal: say that 25% of the population will be high performers,70% successful performers and 5% low performers. The 70% the COLA, plus or minus a small percent. the 25% get COLA plus x%. the 5% low get 0%. Yes 0%.


Not exactly a bell curve, but you're giving the majority the benefit of the doubt, which is good.

I just don't know if money is a motivating factor for people who go into teaching.

Example: at an office job I had in a company with less than 20 people, I was given an opportunity to earn bonuses by getting sales leads. If a lead I gave a sales person turned into an ad or other purchase, I'd get a bonus.

Very quickly, it became apparent that only about 1% of the leads I gave people turned into jobs. I got a couple of bonuses, but really, insignificant.

But I stopped turning in bonus requests at a certain point. Partly because the lead/sales percentage was so bad, but partly because my primary motivation was to help people. I continued to give literally hundreds of leads a week for the sales team, though. Because my motivation was to help people.

I actually realized this in that job. As long as I got my expected paycheck, I didn't care about a bonus.

I got a thrill when I could do something that helped someone. Leads for the sales team, taking a task away from my boss so she could concentrate on something else. . .As long as I knew it was helping someone, I put my best effort into it.

If a task made me feel like a cog in a machine, I didn't do my best. But if I could connect my task to the idea of, "This will help out person X" I did a fantastic job.

However, the sales team were motivated by money. They would do/say almost anything to get a few more bucks for a contest or whatever. And seriously, we're talking $5 here, and $10 there.

It was a clear difference in personality.

My feeling is that the majority of people who go into teaching are not motivated by money.

Not that we don't need money, and we sometimes take on extra work for the money, but are we going to totally change how we teach for money? I doubt it, seriously.

I have work to do now, but I'll look into the rest later.

Ishtar
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Yes, to bed and to work early tomorrow, will read your charter references later, look forward to changing the world with you.
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how to provide release time for professional work

My school district had a neat plan: hired some arts specialists (storyteller, dance instructor) to work in classrooms. The specialist took the class and the teacher was free to meet with other professionals. I think each school had a couple of these, so that there could be a couple of classroom teachers could be free at the same time.
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