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July 27, 2012

New Ideas for Improving Teachers Instead of Firing Them

Ray Fisman, a professor of social enterprise at the Columbia Business School, points to recent research suggesting that—pace the heated rhetoric of some school reformers—'there may be perfectly viable ways to improve overall instruction in schools without firing low-performing teachers.

July 11, 2012

Next Up in Teacher Evaluations: Student Surveys

The search for reliable methods of gauging teacher effectiveness, a dominant education policy issue over the last several years, has centered on classroom observation tools and value-added measures. But another potential indicator has emerged and is starting to pick up momentum: student surveys.

July 02, 2012

How Following Sports Can Improve Teacher Evaluation

Hunter Gehlbach, an assistant professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, says that, to truly improve teacher-evaluation systems, schools should take a lesson from professional sports teams. In evaluating player performance, he explains, NBA, NFL, and MLB coaches and person...

June 28, 2012

Report: Make Improving Teacher Working Conditions a Priority

To boost teacher retention and student achievement at high-poverty schools, states and districts must first look to improve working conditions for teachers, concludes a new report by The Education Trust, a Washington-based nonprofit group. The report profiles five school districts that have focused ...

June 15, 2012

All in the Wrist: Can a Bracelet Measure Student Engagement?

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has put $1.4 million into the development of an "engagement pedometer," a bracelet intended to measure students' emotional responses to instruction, according to Reuters. The devices, which have been tested to gauge consumers' reactions to advertising, could tel...

June 07, 2012

Inside a Teacher's Termination Hearing

The Washington Post's Emma Brown takes a deep dive into the proceedings surrounding a tenured Virginia teacher's fight against termination. The piece illustrates the complexity of defining what makes a good or bad teacher—especially in a district like Fairfax County, which has historically not ...

May 15, 2012

The Most Important Part of Teacher-Evaluation Reform

Writing in The Hechinger Report, California math teacher Kyle Hunsberger reminds school leaders and policymakers that revamped teacher-evaluation systems—especially those relying heavily on student test scores—will only be as effective as the infrastructural supports that gird them: As ...

May 11, 2012

A Curious Way of Expressing Appreciation

Teachers in New York State received a special Teacher Appreciation Week email message from the state education commissioner this week that, in addition to expressing thanks "for all the work you do every day" etc., spent a few paragraphs fleshing out the details of the state's new evaluation system....

May 01, 2012

Identifying the Characteristics of Top Teachers

ASCD's EDge blog reports on the work of Teach For America's chief knowledge officer Steven Farr, who has spent a decade studying data and conducting observations in an effort to determine what distinguishes great teachers from their less effective peers. What he's found is that, in contrast to the H...

March 21, 2012

Apps for the Classroom

You know teacher evaluation is becoming a big deal when there's an app for it. And guess what, there is: The online PD service Teachscape this week announced the release of a new iPad app designed to make it easier for school leaders to collect and upload classroom-observation data. ... Meanwhile, ...

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