Grading the Graders: How Dallas ISD Principals Think Teachers Ought to Be Evaluated

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Click to enlarge the results of a survey you'll also find after the jump.
Said it yesterday: Many interesting agenda items on the Dallas ISD board's to-do list Thursday. Among them is an update on that teacher evaluation system, of which we've taken note a few times in recent months as trustees spend the next year figuring out how to best grade the graders. Input's being gathered now; implementation's expected to begin in August 2012. Though for some, it can't come fast enough: Per the briefing you'll find on the other side: Ninety-eight percent of 10,248 teachers evaluated during and following the last school year received the rating of "meets expectations" ... and that includes at the 33 academically unacceptable campuses, "where 16 campuses did not rate a single teacher as below expectations.'"

What you see comes from an October survey wherein 137 principals and 2,736 teachers were asked how they'd like to see teachers evaluated. And what, you're asking, are value-added measures? Glad you asked:
High value-added teachers are not just "teaching to the test." Critics have speculated that high value-added teachers are simply coaching students to do well on state tests. But researchers found that teachers with high value-added on state tests tend to promote deeper conceptual understanding as well.
Some are all for using VAM to evaluate teachers; others, quite agin it.
Aside from inaccurate personnel decisions, other negative consequences have resulted from overreliance on VAM in teacher evaluation. Research shows that an excessive focus on basic math and reading scores can lead to narrowing and oversimplifying the curriculum and discourage teachers from wanting to work in schools with the neediest students.
The whole presentation's after the jump; and when you're done with that, here's a little extra-credit homework, a paper from last year titled "Problems with the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers" co-authored by, among others, Diane Ravitch that also touched on value-added measures ("VAM methods have also contributed to stronger analyses of school progress, program influences, and the validity of evaluation methods than were previously possible").

Oh, and one more thing: The board will meet at 3700 Ross at 6 tonight for a workshop, during which trustees will update the superintendent search and discuss their "educational philosophy." Can't wait. Teacher Evaluation System Update

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7 comments
Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Oh, and another thing. They cancelled the OHI, whihc was the ONLY way teachers could speak up about what was going on at their campuses, but they want to reinvent the wheel on teacher evals. If they redo ours, they should have one for admin teams, too. Sorry, we don't work in a vacuum. (Did I spell that right?)

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

1. Here is the BIG JOKE here, folks. DISD is looking into the "managed instruction" --meaning, lock-step teaching, lesson plans all in unison, which actually KILLS "value-added." Biggest proponent is Trustee Edwin Flores. Who else? People who want to cut central staff to save $$, thinking that yet again, we can "buy" products off the shelf like candy.

2. VAM is a fraud. Each child is unique. Last year's CEI's are based on 10 yr old Census info about ZIP CODES.

3. Of course the principals want the easiest way to evaluate teachers. Too many of them got their jobs based on which sorority they were in, who their god-mother is, who their daddy was, or even which church they go to. Very few of today's principals were teaching under TAKS, much less, CEI's. Many have never had any managerial experience outside of education and rule by fear and threats. Worse, some play clique fav's.

4. The DISD trains its principals to be the enemy of teachers, not their biggest advocate. They spend so much time  and money training them--many times, incorrectly, on how to "get rid of bad teachers," instead of focusing on KEEPING the good ones. You don't have to keep bad ones if you have a bunch of good ones who want to stay.

5. The entire edu-business lobby is moving towards hiring more principals who have FEWER years in the classroom, rather than more. They want them to be dependent  on higher-ups, not utilizing the best experts--those of us in the classroom for over a decade or more.

If teachers keep on keeping their mouths shut, more of this will come down on us. Someone the other day asked why I blogged under my own name. I told them, they can pretty much fire anyone of us at anytime, so why be afraid now? Besides, the minute I am no longer a teacher, I will run for trustee. Why not?

When teachers quit acting like sheep, things will change.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

If the majority of a teacher's students pass THAT year's STAAR test, she's obviously effective in that one area.

Focus on the teachers with 19% pass rates (and there are plenty of them) instead of all this nonsense.

Value-added is a terrible idea that punishes teachers for taking on older kids whose classes naturally get more complicated and difficult than the previous year's.  

I have no doubt that the snake-oil salesmen pitching these ideas can give a very convincing explanation of how it really is fair and valid, but that doesn't make it true.  Too bad our trustees can't seem to get that.   

Be very skeptical when someone is selling you something; they want your money.  Except with our trustees, it's OUR money.

This isn't about how to evaluate teachers--this is about how to get money.District ACP writers, people in the Testing and Eval dept, DISD attorneys who fight teacher appeals of unfair evaluations--all of them NEED this complicated system to create jobs for themselves.RT Golden is 100% correct--the edubabble and educrats are stealing us blind.And our trustees are letting them.

RTGolden
RTGolden

More wasted time, money and effort.  When are we going to learn that all this flim flam over education results and curriculum and evaluation isn't helping?  We pour more money into each student than almost every other country out there, with dismal results.  Get rid of the 'coddle-me' grading system, where nobody fails so as not to damage their precious self-esteem.  Get rid of the 'cultural awareness' classes or programs, those can, and rightly should, be the responsibility of parents, not schools.  Teach in English, and make mastery of it mandatory. If that offends too many people, let them offer up a better choice for a primary language.  The entire purpose of a nationwide public education system was, is and should always be to teach and promote the proper use of a unifying language for the nation.  If enough people want that unifying language to be Spanish, so be it. (or german, swahili, arabic, hebrew, whatever) But pick ONE language and stick to it.  After that, get back to the basic subjects: Mathematics, (insert language here), Science, History.  Drop public funding for school sports.  If parents want their kids to play in the NFL, let them pay for the buses, equipment, insurance, coaches, stadiums, etc. Take all the money you save on the sports programs and pump it into STUDENTS, not into administrators, secretaries, consultants, etc.

DoubleOJoe
DoubleOJoe

And here I thought I hadn't had my fill of corporate double-speak for the day.

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

VAM would make sense, if you measured every student on every subject, every year.  But that isn't possible.  Which means that scores for certain teachers had to be imputed (PhD speak for fabricated) from other data.  And even if you aren't that teacher, you are being compared to that teacher, so the imputation process affects everybody.  That is one fundamental unfairness of the process - you are potentially being judged on data that doesn't exist, except in the computers of R&E staff.

Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

Don't know what it is about teachers...they can control their own fate yet fail to get politically motivated.  Look...11,000 teachers...if each throws just ten bucks into a yearly Trustee campaign (anonymously through the DFPE PAC if they are concerned about privacy) then there will be $110,000 to fund the campaigns of the next three Trustee candidates in 2012.  That's it, ten lousy bucks. United we stand and all of that.  Yet it won't happen...Birdwell is right...friggin' sheeples. 

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