What’s the measure?

    So I read this post this morning and something made me feel really uneasy about the following excerpt:
    This week, the Missouri legislature will vote on a proposal to tie 33% of his evaluation to test scores and to add student surveys to his evaluation. He writes:
    “Each year, I allow my students to critique me and offer suggestions for my class. I learn a lot from those evaluations and have implemented some of the suggestions the students have made. But there is no way that eighth graders’ opinions should be a part of deciding whether I continue to be employed.”
    Okay…so maybe eighth graders are not the best way to evaluate a teacher is effective, but shouldn’t there be some value in what our students say about our teaching?  Nowhere in the article is an alternative suggested.
    There is also a pushback to not letting test scores be a part of “teacher evaluations” because of all of the variables that are part of a child’s life.  If a child is not eating in the morning, how well do you think they will do on a test?
    One of the comments on the same post said the following:
    If administrators would do their job and spend time in the classrooms evaluating teachers, they wouldn’t need 8th graders to do it for them.
    Interesting since some people question if we even need principals in the first place.  What if the principal is terrible?  How important is that evaluation?
    I am not saying that I have the answers (far from it) on what would be the proper form of evaluation for an educator, but I think that there are a combination of things that we should be looking towards.  All I know is that with all of the pushback against using test scores, student evaluations, etc., I am not hearing many alternative solutions.  I think that in every job, there is accountability to some degree and “teacher autonomy” does not mean we are not accountable, but what does it say to the public when we only say what doesn’t work?
    Within Alberta we have a “Teaching Quality Standard” and a “Principal Quality Standard” that is used to evaluate an educator until they get tenure.  I think there are some great things in this framework but I am always curious about the use of this framework later in a teacher’s career.  Do we still look at it?   I am not out of the profession and I am evaluated as an administrator every few years based on my effectiveness.  I honestly value this feedback and use it for my own growth.  I know the criteria that I am evaluated on and what I am expected to do and actually use my blog as a portfolio for my growth and learning.
    All I know is that as educators (myself included) if we say what doesn’t work, shouldn’t we also be giving some options on what does work? As educators, we have a voice and we have to use it to help create the solutions and be proactive, as opposed to simply allowing others to create them for us.
    So with that being said, what would you suggest as the best way to evaluate the effectiveness of an educator?  I would love to hear the thoughts of others on this, both in and out of the profession.  We can’t just say what doesn’t work.


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