Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Who Grades the Graders?

A great NYT editorial about the need for better teacher evaluations (it's easy to see that the three charter networks in the study are KIPP, Achievement First and Green Dot):

That message comes through in a study from the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank that has recently been zeroing in on this aspect of school policy. The study, by the researchers Morgaen Donaldson and Heather Peske, takes an illuminating look at the evaluation systems used in schools in three high- performing charter networks that educate mainly poor and minority children.

Charter schools run on public money but are often exempt from union contracts that can influence how and when teacher evaluations are done. In many conventional schools, for example, tenured teachers are evaluated only once every three or four years. Evaluations typically consist of one or two short classroom visits. Nearly every teacher passes, even at failing schools, and an overwhelming majority get top ratings.

The charter networks have developed a "culture of accountability," in which every teacher receives a major evaluation every year. Beyond that, teachers get frequent observations — sometimes even weekly — accompanied by detailed feedback throughout the academic year. Student test scores factor into the evaluation, but the teachers are also rated on planning, presentation and whether or not they reach disparate groups of students by exploring material from different vantage points.


March 21, 2010

NYT Editorial


Who Grades the Graders?

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