Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Teacher Effectiveness Drives Student Performance: How Do We Evaluate Our Teachers?

Teacher effectiveness is often thought of as the most important factor in student growth. This means that the teacher himself or herself is stronger than income, class size, race or family educational background. The million dollar question is, how do we define an “effective teacher?” Cities have struggled to find an effective system for evaluating teachers. Last year the National Center on Teacher Quality did a report on teacher evaluation and Human Capital in Baltimore City. Only half of the City Schools teachers were evaluated. Of this 50%, 97% were rated Satisfactory or higher which is two percent lower than the national average. This means that Baltimore City is becoming more progressive in teacher evaluation.

Certain programs such as the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) measures teaching against standards in three major categories, designing and planning instruction, the learning environment and instruction. TAP evaluates a teacher rigorously and provides information on what a teacher is doing well, struggles with and gives them feedback. Another system implemented in Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System where school systems follow and track student test scores between 4th and 8th grade in math, reading, social studies and science. Each student has a profile and their performance can be projected. Both of these systems contribute towards greater student performance. I tend believe that a system such as TAP is more effective. TAP is a way where teachers are not observed once a year and given a general unsatisfactory, satisfactory or proficient score. TAP consists of a rigorous method for evaluating teachers based on three important factors, designing and planning instruction, the learning environment and instruction. What do you think are the most important factors in evaluating teachers? Which system do you feel would be more effective in Baltimore City?

1 comment:

Laura Del Giorno said...

I really enjoyed last night's class where we discussed this topic. While I think we need a major overhaul on our teacher evaluation system, I also think there would be way too much teacher push back in order to do anything anytime soon. I still think it is insane that I have someone come into my room two times out of the entire year to evaluate me. And what's even crazier is that I know the exact date and time they are coming so clearly my efforts will be focused on that. When I first started teaching I also thought it was nuts that no one ever checked to see if I was teaching my children accurate information.

There are so many things that need to be overhauled and I do believe that we need a more comprehensive evaluation system, but I struggle with figuring out how to make that happen any time soon.