Thursday, June 14th, 2012
In my opinion, no, given what we know about bias. Typically, surveys of performance are pretty predictable. Students who do well in school give better reviews to teachers than students who do poorly. Often, attitudes are shaped by a hole host of variables unrelated to teachers. These kinds of things don’t tell us a lot about performance because they are difficult to filter. This account from the Connecticut Mirror provides a chart on the make up of teacher evaluations in Connecticut. I’m assuming the 45% Student Performance will come from testing.
I just don’t understand why smart people can’t come at evaluation schema in more practical ways, for example, evaluating teacher performance by the degree to which their students learn over time. After arithmetic, sit on the deck built by students and if it works, the teacher and the students did just fine. And someone got a deck out of the deal, too. But learning by doing is not a priority in testing cultures.
Consider this example of a quote from the Gates Foundation that supplies a high degree of confidence in survey feedback
He [John Lucsak] pointed to a recent report from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Measures of Effective Teaching Project, that calls surveys “value-added measures [that] do seem to convey information about a teacher’s impact.”
Kinda, sorta, maybe. The use of the term value-added here is suspect. It would do you well to read the report linked to from the article and read the student survey questions. Note that I went through some of the bios of Education First advocates and was somewhat surprised at the qualifications of the experts.
I would also assume that the unions will be blamed again for getting in the way. They have good reasons to dislike this kind of performance model.
One of the problems all of these advocates, for or against whatever reforms, is they have to work within is the ecology of the current system, which works on a shoe string and goes severely under funded given the system’s size. It’s like a pond full of frogs but there’s not a lot of rain falling out of the heavens.