Thursday, February 01, 2007

Testing the teacher

Check out this article:

A much-anticipated report by the Commission on No Child Left Behind, a
bipartisan panel convened by the Aspen Institute to advise Congress on
refurbishing NCLB, recommends that states be required to set up systems to track
teachers’ effectiveness based on student achievement data over time, as well as
principal and peer evaluations. Under the plan, if a teacher does not achieve
“HQET status” after five years (including three years of specialized
professional development), his or her principal would be required to notify the
parents of students in the teacher’s classes. Teachers who fail to attain HQET
status after seven years would no longer be allowed to teach in a school
receiving Title I funds.

I can't help but cringe. How would they keep track of this? What kind of test? Base my job on the effective scores of students? Do I get to pick the students? How long do I get with the students, only a year or less? I am all for holding teachers accountable, and myself, but there has to be a better way than test scores.

I would allow any interested parent or administrator to come into my classroom at anytime, even unannounced, to make sure we are doing appropriate learning. I would even like to invite some parents to sit next to their kids.

And the data would be subjective at all times. Some students are at different levels. I have a couple of students in one period who have come a long way in writing a five-paragraph essay, but this is over two weeks of direct instruction on it. Do I get more points for those students?

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