Friday, May 14, 2010

New York Teacher Evaluations--revisited

anyone who who is a teacher and who has worked at schools knows how inherently subjective teacher evaluations are. Although I personally have always lucked out and had supportive supervisors, your evaluations by supervisors are inherently subjective and personal . In the end, I guess that it's the same in any industry, people are just subjective, will tend to help those that they like.

I raise this point because the proposed changes in teacher evaluations in New York will make, as far as I can tell, make it easier to terminate tenured teachers based on the apperance of 'objective' data. For instance, teachers will get a poor evaluation rating if their students' scores don't improve ...hmmm, that sounds great at first. But there are several flaws that are probably obvious to any teacher. Consider teaching high school math in New York. The first test that students must pass is the Integrated Algebra I exam--which is a joke and is ridiculously easy to pass. So if you teach Geometry, you are stuck in the unfortunate situation of teaching a class with a much more difficulty test with a lower pass rate-- What formula, if any, should be used to measure you 'improvement', given that the test your students must take is substantially harder than the one they took the prior year?

Of course, there are other problems with measuring improvement on tests...what about teachers who do not teach regents classes? Are they just luckier than the others.

The new rules are in the process of being created so let's see what their final shape will be.

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