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Teacher Math Doesn't Add Up

Posted by Grace Lee on Apr 6, 2013 4:37:00 PM

The Teacher Math Doesn't Add Up! Check out the recent scores from teacher evaluations in a few states around the US. 

  • 97% of Florida public school teachers deemed effective or highly effective

27% of Florida students are proficient in math and 28% in reading

  • 98% of Michigan public school teachers deemed effective or better

28.9% of Michigan students are proficient in math and 28.2% in reading

  • 98% of Tennessee public school teachers judged to meet expectations
23.1% of Tennessee students are proficient in math and 25.6% in reading

The teacher data is from Jenny Anderson's article in the NY Times, "Curious Grade for Teachers: Nearly All Pass." The student data is from "Globally Challenged: Are U.S. Students Ready to Compete?" by Peterson, Woessmann, et al.

Florida students made significant improvements on the last round of academic testing, but overall the state is ranked 36th out of the 50 states in math.

So 72+% of the students in Florida are rated less thandescribe the image proficient on academic evaluations yet 97% of the teachers are deemed effective? That math doesn't add up! 

Millions of dollars and man hours have been invested to develop effective teacher evaluation systems. This effort is complicated due to union resistance, lack of consistency in administrative execution, and resistence in the teacher ranks. These evaluation results are as grossly and unethically deceptive as the test altering cheating scandal so widely publicized in Atlanta, GA. 

Private Schools are No Better

It must be noted that private schools are no better than public schools at teacher selection and evaluation. Despite claims to the contrary on most of their web sites, independent schools are equally challenged when it comes to teacher assessment. I'm familiar with a few exceptions, but most use a sporadic process for observation and evaluation. The only advantage private school have is the ability to select students in a smaller range of variance when it comes to aptitude, behavior, and performance.

Best practices for teacher coaching and feedback involve a professional dialogue that uses accurate student data, administrative observation, peer observation, and collaborative planning. It isn't difficult to assess teacher quality, but like all other efforts for process improvement it does require disciplined execution. The administration of the school must be fully committed to an adult education method and cycle that is genuine and produces advancements in student learning.

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