Sunday, March 20, 2011

Teacher Evaluations

I was reading this March 13 article by Doug Lasken and Bill Evers in the SFGate. 

They ask, "Who is the effective teacher?  Is it the teacher whose students pay attention during the principal's visit, or make nice posters for the hallway, or line up quietly on the playground?  Or is it the teacher whose students are learning what they need to know?"

These are great questions!  Here are a few observations I'd like to point out:

1)  Most school administrators don't have a math/science background.  (Typically teachers in those areas don't have the time or inclination to pursue administrative posts.) 

2)  Available assessments are for core subject areas only, however districts across the country employ a multitude of non-core teachers.

3)  School administrators perform "fly-by" evaluations of teachers in every area because they cannot possibly know every subject.  They are "looking for" the latest fad in pedagogy, not the quality of the content taught.  Subject matter evaluations should be performed by the department chair in that subject, otherwise there is only testing data of core subjects for administrators to consider.

4)  Teachers who teach stand alone courses that are not reliant on prior learning are at a distinct advantage in every proposed teacher evaluation plan which is tied to learning outcomes that I've read. Yet, the US wants to encourage more students to go into math/science teaching.  Hmm...

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