The Answer Sheet: Teacher Evaluation

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 02/04/2014

A teacher exposes ‘value-added’ idiocy

A tale about the interaction of high-stakes policies and the real world of a school.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 02/04/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 01/13/2014

Weingarten slams teacher evaluation by student test scores

‘It’s time to call the question.’

By Valerie Strauss  |  07:00 AM ET, 01/13/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:20 PM ET, 12/23/2013

Errors found in D.C. teacher evaluations (2nd update)

One teacher was fired as a result.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:20 PM ET, 12/23/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:59 PM ET, 06/18/2013

Education Department listens to (some) reason

Education Secretary Arne Duncan gives an extra year for implementation of new teacher evaluations linked to Common Core tests.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:59 PM ET, 06/18/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:24 PM ET, 06/18/2013

New problems with New York's teacher evaluation plan found

An award-winning principal finds new problems with New York's new teacher evaluation program.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:24 PM ET, 06/18/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:49 PM ET, 06/16/2013

New Florida law: Teachers can't be evaluated on students they don't have

Why was such a law necessary? Here's why.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:49 PM ET, 06/16/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:02 AM ET, 05/23/2013

The serious risks of rushing new teacher evaluation systems

Many policymakers say we must implement new systems now and fix design flaws later. They are wrong.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:02 AM ET, 05/23/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:02 AM ET, 05/13/2013

Why video cameras and teacher evaluation do not mix

Here's why one veteran educator thinks Bill Gates' plan to videotape teachers in their classrooms makes no sense.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:02 AM ET, 05/13/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:59 AM ET, 01/27/2013

Florida ed reform: 'A danger of all this imploding'

Educators in Florida have been screaming for some time about the irrationality of the state's standardized test-based school accountability system -- which is being sold around the country by former governor Jeb Bush as a model for education reform. But now the powerful president of the Florida Senate, Republican Don Gaetz, has become part of the chorus.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:59 AM ET, 01/27/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:39 AM ET, 01/07/2013

Moco schools chief on new teacher/principal evaluation systems

Here is a new message from Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr about changes to its nationally known educator evaluation systems that the district is being forced to make by the state of Maryland.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:39 AM ET, 01/07/2013 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:34 AM ET, 11/16/2012

Chris Christie, Randi Weingarten (and Bradley Cooper) on new Newark teachers contract

Here's a video of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten talking -- along with actor Bradley Cooper of all people -- on the MSNBC program "Morning Joe" about the new teachers contract they negotiated in Newark.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:34 AM ET, 11/16/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 03/03/2011

Value-added assessment: Theory vs practice

Conflating the importance of teacher quality with the ability to measure it carries big risks, and can lead states, districts and the media to miss the trees for the forest.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:00 AM ET, 03/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:00 AM ET, 03/02/2011

The Bill Gates problem in school reform

How our celebrity-obsessed culture affects school reform: If Bill Gates had no money, would anybody care what he has to say about how to fix public schools (especially since he lacks strong evidence to back his positions)?

By Valerie Strauss  |  08:00 AM ET, 03/02/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:35 PM ET, 01/21/2011

Say it isn’t so on IMPACT, Mayor Gray

Here’s why I was so disappointed to a plan by D.C. schools officials to have the flawed IMPACT teacher evaluation system reviewed by a Harvard think tank.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:35 PM ET, 01/21/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 01/19/2011

Is Rhee's key D.C. reform being tossed?

While Michelle Rhee is busy trying to build up a national organization to take on the teachers unions, back in Washington D.C., where she was chancellor for 3 1/2 years, the new mayor may be on the road to taking apart her signature reform.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 01/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:00 PM ET, 01/18/2011

Ravitch: The pitfalls of putting economists in charge of education

Diane Ravitch writes, "It is astonishing to realize the extent to which education debates are now framed and dominated by economists, not by educators or sociologists or cognitive psychologists or anyone else who actually spends time in classrooms."

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:00 PM ET, 01/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 01/14/2011

The biggest flaw in Gates value-added study

Were the conclusions of a major Gates Foundation study on value-added measures to evaluate teachers predetermined?

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:00 PM ET, 01/14/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:36 PM ET, 01/03/2011

America’s disdain for its children

Americans don’t really think very much of their children. Not really. Just take a look at the world of education.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:36 PM ET, 01/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 12/07/2010

Assessing teachers without fetishizing test-based reforms

An educator writes that policymakers are fetishizing student scores on standardized tests and using them as a crutch rather than turning to sensible solutions to improve public schools. There are better ways to assess teacher quality, he says.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 12/07/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 11/29/2010

What Tom Friedman got wrong about schools and why it matters

The great New York Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote in a recent piece that if he were a cub reporter today, he’d want to be “covering the epicenter of national security -- but that would be the Education Department.” If Friedman the cub reporter had turned in this piece, a veteran education editor would have sent it back, asking him to back up his contentions with research. He’d have a hard time.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 11/29/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:40 AM ET, 11/12/2010

What’s wrong with releasing names and scores?

A teacher writing about plans by the NYC Department of Education to release teachers’ names and value-added ratings to the press, says: "Is this sheer stubbornness on the part of school leaders, or do they not understand the harm this would cause?"

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:40 AM ET, 11/12/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 11/01/2010

Is D.C.'s teacher evaluation system rigged?

A professor writes about teacher evaluation systems: "The pendulum has simply swung from one end of absurdity to the other; if many systems have historically rated 99 percent of teachers 'satisfactory,' ... we now have in D.C. a system that declares exactly 50 percent of teachers ineffective or minimally effective."

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 11/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:57 AM ET, 10/29/2010

What Rhee's successor should do first

Michelle Rhee rather gracelessly delivered a parting shot to teachers on her way out of the building, telling them to watch their backs because the teacher evaluation system that she created, IMPACT, can tell who’s good and who’s not. Unfortunately, that’s not quite accurate. It's an unfair system open for abuse and Rhee's successor should move to fix it. Now.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:57 AM ET, 10/29/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 10/19/2010

Reduce standardized testing to improve accountability, school quality

FairTest's Monty Neill writes that reducing the amount of standardized testing, and lowering the stakes connected to the result will result in more accountability and school quality.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:00 AM ET, 10/19/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 10/06/2010

Ravitch: Why teachers should never be rated by test scores

Education historian Diane Ravitch writes: "...Value-added assessment should not be used at all. Never. It has a wide margin of error. It is unstable. A teacher who is highly effective one year may get a different rating the next year depending on which students are assigned to his or her class. Ratings may differ if the tests differ. To the extent it is used, it will narrow the curriculum and promote teaching to tests. Teachers will be mislabeled and stigmatized. Many factors that influence student scores will not be counted at all."

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 10/06/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:11 PM ET, 10/05/2010

Report: Schools, teacher ed programs ignore how kids really learn

James Comer and Robert Pianta write about a new report that says: "Despite big advances in our understanding of how children and adolescents grow and learn, little of that knowledge has found its way into schools or educator preparation programs."

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:11 PM ET, 10/05/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:37 PM ET, 09/28/2010

About the suicide of an L.A. teacher

A Los Angeles teacher took his own life, reportedly depressed because of his evaluation in a database created by the Los Angeles Times. Let's be clear: the newspaper isn't responsible.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:37 PM ET, 09/28/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 08/23/2010

Willingham: 3 key factors in teacher evaluation (beyond the hype of value-added)

Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham looks beyond the hype of "value added" models for teacher evaluation and pinpoints three key factors that should be considered.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:00 AM ET, 08/23/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:23 AM ET, 08/17/2010

Willingham: Big questions about the LA Times teachers project

Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham explains why using value-added measures to judge the effectiveness of a teacher is a mistake, and says that the Los Angeles Times writers who helped evaluate more than 6,000 teachers in this fashion, "are either uniformed or disingenuous about the status of the value-added measures."

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:23 AM ET, 08/17/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 07/29/2010

Study: Error rates high when student test scores used to evaluate teachers

I don’t understand all of a new statistical study about error rates when student test scores are used to evaluate teachers and schools, but I do get this: The rates are so high that they should give pause to even the most ardent admirers of such evaluation systems.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 07/29/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:30 AM ET, 06/24/2010

A better way to evaluate students and schools

Here is a proposal for a robust and effective assessment and evaluation system for students and schools that would include three key components: limited large-scale standardized testing, extensive school-based evidence of learning, and a school quality review process.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:30 AM ET, 06/24/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 05/14/2010

Don't rush to link teacher evaluation to student achievement

The president of Teachers College at Columbia University writes about the problems with President Obama's proposal to link teacher evaluation to student performance.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:30 AM ET, 05/14/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 04/28/2010

How to measure student growth

By Lisa Guisbond. Growth models are pitched as a thoroughly modern, scientific way to .answer the age-old parental question: “What did you learn in school this year, my dear?” It seems reasonable enough: Test students at the beginning and the end of the year and measure the “growth” in test scores to see if student achievement is improving. Given the narrow and limited nature of the data used to measure this growth, however, there’s often less than meets the eye in the results. Fortunately, there are better, if little known or understood, ways of both measuring and stimulating real growth in learning.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:00 AM ET, 04/28/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 01/25/2010

Willingham: 'A terrible idea'

By Daniel Willingham. Randi Weingarten’s recent speech at the National Press Club garnered a great deal of press attention, almost all of it on her openness to student achievement data being part of an evaluation scheme for teachers. This is a terrible idea.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:30 PM ET, 01/25/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)