What bothers me about the current state of teacher evaluation

Here are some of the issues that concern me about the recent efforts to ramp up the teacher evaluation process in the U.S.

  • The current discussion largely ignores research on the adult learner – we can intensify motivation, but cannot make people change unless they want to. So, how do we increase the “want to” without resorting to high accountability/sticks all the time?
  • The current accountability situation in the U.S. has the cart ahead of the horse – we are in the midst of a quantum change around Common Core and in the meantime politicians have asked for educators to use a true “value-added” assessment before effective instruments have been put in place.
  • There are very few true “value-added” tests and the concept itself is being questioned. (For more on this viewpoint see this excellent article by Linda Darling Hammond.)
  • Student achievement is only part of the equation – we should seek not minimum competence but flourishing – for students to desire to learn and to be creative and curious – not the regurgitation of information from their short-term memory that will be forgotten next week. (see following post)
  • We can and ought to do better in Christian education – we should be seeing each teacher as an image-bearer who needs encouragement and appropriate direction, not simply a producer of great student test scores. How will we choose to work with our teachers – toward student growth/flourishing and their own growth as individuals?

For further reading:

A comprehensive overview of the issues in the field by Charlotte Danielson – author of the Framework for Teaching – still the best description/rubrics of effective teaching practice that I have seen.

Here is a helpful and insightful blog post by Kyle Hunsberger written from a teacher perspective.

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Filed under change, image of God, leadership, staff development, student outcomes

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