Sunday, April 24, 2011

Teacher evaluations and test scores

What does it mean to link teacher evaluations to student test scores?  I feel like this is all the rage right now, and I get it.  Students are not testing proficient in reading and math, and we all "know" there must bad teachers out there milking the system who can never be fired.  So, if we can just find a way to get rid of those teachers then we can solve our problem. 

Here is the thing...I worked in some really low preforming schools, I don't have any data, but I'll bet you that no one in knocking on those school doors, even in this economy, to work there.  There is no large pool of highly effective teachers just waiting for an opening at those schools, hoping they will get a chance to go in there and make a difference.   I do not mean to say that there are not excellent teachers working at those or other low preforming schools, I know and have worked with many excellent teachers who are making a difference.  I also know there are a few mediocre teachers who work at low preforming schools.  And I know, and was one of the, many hard working and new teachers who work at low preforming schools.  The new teachers are often effective teachers, but not as effective as a good experienced teacher.

But, back to my question.  If teachers are going to be evaluated on the students' test scores, what happens to low preforming schools.  If, I as a teacher have a choice to take a job at school A with generally high test scores, or school B, with generally low test scores, which do I pick?  Well, if I can take a risk because I believe I can make a difference and raise test scores, perhaps I will pick school B.  But, if I really would like to make a career out of teaching and want good evaluations and positive feedback, I will pick school A.  Remember, I make exactly the same job, and making the same amount of money no matter my choice.  Of course, if I choose school B, I will probably be working longer hours to meet the needs of my students, because I really do believe that my students deserve a chance at moving more than one grade level in one year.

So, if we go ahead, as it seems we will be, and make teacher evaluations linked to student test scores, who is going to teach our highest need students?

No comments:

Post a Comment