Questioning Teacher Evaluation: Your Answers Needed

May 3, 2011 at 7:32 am 1 comment

The Niemeyer Series presented a compelling discussion last week on the topic of teacher performance and evaluation. You can view the panel discussion in its entirety online:

Below are some of the questions that were submitted to the panel.  Please select a question, then click “Add comment” and answer it. Or you can even ask another question!

  • Conversations with teachers and principals suggest that principals and school leaders have little time to work on instruction with their staff educators. Is there any thinking going into structural changes to free up time for instructional experts to spend more time working on instruction?
  • You’ve talked about systems where principals should teach; where they need to consistently be present in classrooms to observe and to coach. How will you make this happen within the constraints of the enormous operational/systemic workload of New York City principals? As a principal who is the sole administrator in my building, I’d really like to know.
  • If teachers are evaluated on the assumption that their professional support is equal, how do we hold principals accountable for that?
  • In evaluating teachers, how do you factor the complex learning needs of students with disabilities while maintaining a clear expectation of a rate of progress that leads to a high school diploma to access to college and meaningful employment?
  • Is there any difference in evaluation effectiveness in states with and without unions?
  • To improve student achievement, please describe how you would effectively involve parents, especially lower socio-economic and non-English speaking parents to extend the learning day?
  • Frederick (Frelow) mentioned that the more examples you have of performance the better. (This is paraphrasing). However, teachers have taken that to an extreme and “over-assess” students. How do we make sure not to “over-assess” teachers or increase the assessments on students to demonstrate “value-added?”
  • Where are the schools of education in this mix? How are we holding them accountable to “real” teacher success that trickles down to student success?
  • Is there a role for students and parents in providing feedback about teacher effectiveness either through surveys, interviews, or other methods?
  • What should the evaluation of principals include and why?
  • Who is being trained to assess all these new evaluation models? Who is evaluating the quality and effectiveness of the principal?
  • How can we help support teachers’ morale while evaluating them?
  • There has been a tremendous amount of pressure to quickly develop teacher evaluation rubrics to avoid “LIFO” as the mechanism for determining teacher layoffs. Isn’t there a danger in rushing an evaluation system to address LIFO?
  • If the advancement and removal of teachers is so difficult, how useful is the information gained through evaluation and assessment? When will the information be utilized?
  • Do you see teacher portfolios playing a role in the change regarding teacher assessment?
  • A question for Shael Polakow-Suransky: If you see so clearly the tensions, the faults, the need for better work on flawed exams, how can you excuse current grading of schools, push to publicize teacher test scores, etc.?
  • Are our teaching preparational training programs preparing high quality teachers?
  • To what extent should our teacher prep programs be involved in shaping an evaluation system?
  • Can you speak more about how an administration can be structured composed entirely of teacher leaders?
  • Are there organizations that are actively engaging classroom teachers in the discussion of building a high quality teacher evaluation system?
  • Aren’t our upper-middle class schools outperforming Finland? Isn’t the real issue poverty as Diane Ravitch has recently stated?
  • Talk about what role the Teacher Education Departments at colleges and universities can/must play in teacher performance/assessment/accountability.
  • Describe your ideal 60% of the New York City or New York State evaluation systems.
  • Administrators, at least in New York, are so overburdened with paperwork, meetings, and outside expectations to prove they’re effective, how will they possibly manage a new labor-intensive evaluation?
  • If standardized tests are an important component, how will teachers of English language learners and students with disabilities be assessed? Will there be different assessments?
  • Peer review was mentioned as popular in one school system, but does not seem to be very popular. In higher academia and in the corporate world, it is key. Why the difference?
  • Who, realistically/logistically, should define teacher effectiveness – each school? district? state?
  • Yes, teachers need to be learners. What if a teacher is improving – is that enough? How much growth, at what pace?
  • Students with severe disabilities do not participate in standardized testing and some of their learning may be difficult to quantify. These students also need excellent teachers. How can teacher evaluation measures be shaped to ensure that students with disabilities are taught by excellent teachers?
  • How can teachers of students with disabilities be fairly evaluated?
  • How can we extend student performance/teacher performance with the current socio-economic disparity?
  • During the debate, no one has mentioned Special Education in the realm of accountability. How do you see this factoring in? Along the same lines as general ed. teachers’ performance, or as a separate standard?

Entry filed under: bank street history, coaching, dialogue, policy, politics, professional development, standards, teacher education.

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