Author's note: This blog is on a reduced posting schedule until July 2012, when normal posting will resume. You can subscribe via email to be notified when new posts are added. Over the past 20 or so years, we've sharpened our focus on student learning: Formative assessment. Diagnostic assessments. Pre and post tests. Clickers. Reviewing student work in teams. Exit slips. The list goes on. Beyond the classroom level, the accountability movement has held schools responsible for how well their students perform on standardized tests. I would argue that all of this has generally been productive, but it's taken away...


In my previous post, I suggested that teaching positions be reconfigured so that they have varying levels of responsibility and compensation. A robust discussion has ensued in the comments, and as I always hope when I write here, this has pushed my thinking further on the issue. First, on the matter of flexibility in pay and duties—it occurred to me today that we already have some options for people to take on less work in exchange for less pay. It's called being part-time. We have many excellent teachers who either have family obligations or just don't need the money...


One of the chief challenges to the teaching profession's status as a profession is its flatness. A first-year teacher has the same duties and working conditions as a 30-year veteran, and while the latter may be higher on the pay scale, not much else changes as a teacher (or a principal, for that matter) gains experience and expertise. We get better at what we do, but no new opportunities or differentiated responsibilities are built into the structure of the career. At best, we might move to either a more desirable or more challenging school or teaching assignment (depending on what ...


If teaching is to be treated as a true profession, as I believe it should, how much value should we place on teachers' time? I was observing a math lesson a few weeks ago and started to wonder: How much does a lesson cost? How much is it costing for these students to be at school and participate in this lesson? What can we do to protect this time and make the most of it? To simplify the calculation, I decided to calculate only the cost of the teacher's time, ignoring all of the many other costs of schooling, such ...


Guest Post By Sean Glaze of Great Results Teambuilding Bill Parcells, the Super-Bowl winning coach of the New York Giants, enjoyed much success during his seven years as head coach back in the 1980's. When he later took over as head coach of the New England patriots, though, he improved the organization, but left the Patriots after only three seasons. As a coach, he felt he needed more influence when it came to choosing the players that would be on his team. Parcells is famously noted for claiming that "They want you to cook the dinner; at least they ought ...


Despite being voted down by citizens three times, charter schools are again up for consideration by the WA state legislature, with many backers. A Tacoma News-Tribune editorial offers this circuitous rationale: Charter public schools are hardly the most important reform out there, but they do serve as a barometer of a state's willingness to give every possible option to parents and children. ... These [ending LIFO, stronger evaluation policies] are all more important than charter schools. But a K-12 establishment that won't tolerate a single charter school - not one - is never going to tackle the genuinely hard stuff. This ...


Guest post from Rod McCloy & Andrea Sinclair In this blog entry, we provide some of our recommendations for developing teacher evaluation systems. These recommendations rest on the performance theory (Campbell, McCloy, Oppler, & Sager, 1993) presented in our previous two posts ("Performance or Effectiveness? A Critical Distinction for Teacher Evaluation", "Ramifications of the Performance/Effectiveness Distinction for Teacher Evaluation") and its differentiation between performance and effectiveness. Our recommendations for developing teacher evaluation systems then are as follows: 1. Develop appropriate performance measures, keeping multidimensionality (multiple distinguishable components of teaching) in mind. Performance measures should focus on those behaviors teachers are hired ...


Guest post from Rod McCloy & Andrea Sinclair In our initial blog entry, we argued that it is essential to differentiate performance (behaviors people engage in on the job; i.e., what people do) from effectiveness (the results of performance) when conducting teacher evaluation. In this entry, we discuss how doing so can clarify the discussion surrounding teacher evaluation. We first must specify just what it is we intend to evaluate: performance? effectiveness? something else? It is critical that we answer this question clearly, because performance and effectiveness are different criteria determined by different variables, which suggests the potential for different ...


Guest post from Rod McCloy & Andrea Sinclair Teacher evaluation has become a major focus of reform at the highest levels of education policymaking. The Obama administration awarded states more points for plans to improve teacher evaluation in their Race to the Top applications than for nearly any other policy area. The administration's Blueprint for Reform for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (i.e., NCLB) would require states to revamp teacher evaluation to receive significant amounts of federal funding. The administration has also allocated federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) money for "persistently low-performing" schools adopting the Transformation model, which ...


Unless this is your first visit to this blog, you've probably noticed that I haven't posted in about a month. I owe you an explanation and an apology for the lack of communication. The short version is that I've become very busy with my job as a principal, graduate school, and another major project I've started for school leaders. While I enjoy writing and engaging with readers here, I can't currently dedicate time to the extensive reading that this blog requires each week, so it has gone dormant. I will be starting my dissertation in the next few months, so ...


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