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Using Teacher-Evaluation Data

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The New Teacher Project had a really interesting study out not long ago on teacher evaluation that found that pretty much all teachers get high ratings on local evaluation instruments. This is something of a portent for things to come, since one of the stimulus assurances will probably deal with this piece of data.

See my write-up of the TNTP study for additional details and some feedback from teachers, union officials, and so forth.

One interesting element in the report that I didn't include in my story has to do with where these records are kept. Of the 12 districts TNTP examined, only five of them—Denver; Chicago; Elgin, Ill; Rockford, Ill; and Cincinnati;—keep electronic evaluation data. For most other districts, the results of evaluations basically sit in folders in the district HR office, never to be looked at again by anyone.

Imagine the possibilities if these evaluations actually meant something and districts could sort through the results of such evaluations electronically and analyze them in various ways. Not for punitive purposes, mind you, but to do a better job of offering professional development at the district level to supplement what teachers, coaches, and administrators are doing within schools.

If a lot of teachers are struggling with how to model math problems, for instance, that could be the beginning of a district PD program or even a new math initiative.

If your district does something like this, send me an e-mail! I'd love to hear from you.

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As a Teach For America alumni, I can say this is something that many districts can take away from the program. Especially in recent years, TFA has made tremendous strides in providing professional development both at Institute and during the school year based upon data (student tracking, observation, reflective, etc.) In the district in which I currently work, we do not have a data driven professional development system. Teachers are forced to attend meaningless PD sessions that most likely are not what they need. Just like students, teachers need differentiation as well.

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