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January 24, 2011

How Bad is Too Bad? 5% as the Emerging Consensus

@eduleadership This past week, Washington released its annual list of the lowest-performing 5% of schools, which are eligible for state School Improvement Grants. I'm not sure when or why 5% was chosen as the magic number of schools that are unacceptably low-performing, but that figure seems to ref...

January 18, 2011

DC Mayor Gray Less than Confident in IMPACT Eval System

@eduleadership Bill Turque at the Washington Post reports that new DC mayor Vincent Gray is aware of the limitations of former chancellor Michelle Rhee's IMPACT teacher evaluation system, noting concerns that it unfairly rates teachers in lower-income schools: So I guess I would say at this stage.....

January 04, 2011

Collecting the Wrong Data: Fundamental Attribution Error in Teaching Quality

@eduleadership Is teaching quality the same as teacher quality? Kim Marshall recently pointed me to this excellent article by Mary M. Kennedy of Michigan State University, which makes a strong case for focusing more on the conditions of teacher practice than on stable teacher characteristics. As s...

January 03, 2011

When the Policy Hammer Falls

@eduleadership Why did Race to the Top scoring criteria mandate that teacher evaluations be based heavily (up to 50%) on student test scores? Why did states play along, passing scores of laws requiring just such a shift? Why are so many current education reform efforts focused on measuring teacher ...

December 31, 2010

Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Meaningless Evaluations

@eduleadership In this editorial, Collin Hitt of the Illinois Policy Institute argues that strong teacher tenure protections create a vicious cycle in teacher evaluation: In a nutshell: Today, teacher evaluations are not used to inform personnel decisions. Therefore, on balance, they are not condu...

December 30, 2010

Should Parents Have a Voice in Teacher Evaluation?

@eduleadership What role should parents play in the evaluation of teachers? This editorial from the Athens Banner-Herald argues that parents should have a substantial voice in teacher evaluations: Any meaningful assessment of schools and teachers must include massive and sustained input from parent...

December 27, 2010

South Korea Takes Dramatic Action with 1,056 "Unsatisfactory" Teachers

This brief story on how South Korea responds to unsatisfactory teachers caught my eye last week: The education ministry said today that more than 900 of them are required to take a 60-hour session aimed at improving their teaching skills while the rest will have to participate in a six-month trainin...

December 21, 2010

A Level-Headed (But Still Narrow-Minded) Take on VAM

Value-added has become both poster child and whipping boy in the debate on how to improve teacher evaluations. This editorial from some very bright people makes a very sane case for not giving up on VAM ("Value-Added: It's Not Perfect, But It Makes Sense," EdWeek, December 15). The authors argue tha...

December 21, 2010

Gates' Measures of Effective Teaching Study: More Value-Added Madness

@eduleadership The Measures of Effective Teaching project, funded to the tune of $45 million by the Gates Foundation, has released its first of four reports. While the report is full of intelligent insights, it makes a number of astounding logical leaps to justify the use of value-added teacher rat...

December 19, 2010

Test Scores Dropped from Definition of Effective Principals

The National Association of Elementary School Principals reported to members via email and blog post on Friday that the Department of Education has backed down from including student academic growth, as measured by standardized test scores, from its definition of "effective" and "highly effective" p...

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