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Testing Teachers

The Ankeny school district in Iowa has become the first in the state (or so it is believed) to turn to a software program to help evaluate candidates for teaching and principal positions. The district will use TeacherInsight and PrincipalInsight, multiple-choice assessment tools developed by the Gallup Organization to gauge educators’ interpersonal skills. More specifically (sort of), TeacherInsight “assesses the talents that result in teacher excellence that are difficult or nearly impossible to teach,” according to Gallup’s education Web site.

Ankeny officials point to research reportedly showing that nearly 90 percent of the teachers who performed in the top quartile on TeacherInsight produced significant growth in student achievement, while two-thirds of those scoring in the bottom quartile were less successful.

“This will give us one more piece of research-based, objective data,” says Associate Superintendent Anne Laing, adding that the assessment “measures some things you may not see in a grade-point average … and references aren’t always the best resource.”

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