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5 Ways to Improve Teacher Evaluation Systems

Edutopia – Michael Moody

“Current approaches to assessing teacher effectiveness aren’t working. The instruments used for observation are overly complicated, and training for observers is often inadequate. Furthermore, the challenges associated with the use of student achievement data, and the political nature in which these processes were mandated in the first place, all make this a very challenging problem to address. Indeed, a recent report by the Brookings Institution suggests that “teacher observations have been a waste of time and money.”” (more)

Were Teacher Evaluation Reforms a Net Positive or Net Negative?

Education Next – Matthew A. Kraft

“When I present my research on teacher evaluation reforms, I’m often asked whether, at the end of the day, these reforms were a good or bad thing. This is a fair question—and one that is especially important to grapple with given that state policymakers are currently deciding on whether to refine or reject these systems under ESSA. For all the nuanced research and mixed findings that concern teacher evaluation reforms and how teachers’ unions have shaped these reforms on the ground, what is the end result of the considerable time, money, and effort we have invested?.” (more)

Hiring teachers based on ‘likability’ is not the best practice

Education Dive – Linda Jacobson

“With districts continuing to report shortages of teachers in multiple subject areas, a pair of new reports delves into the methods that schools are using to fill teaching positions, suggesting that smarter recruitment strategies and less reliance on whether the candidate is “likable” could not only help schools find teachers, but also keep them.” (more)

Thriving in Your First Years as a Teacher

Edutopia – Andrea Marshbank

“It is a universal truth that early career teachers are overwhelmed. Between classroom management issues, lesson plans, and grading, we’re oftentimes drowning. With all the pressure to simply survive our first few years of teaching, doing anything else in the name of improvement may seem impossible. As a second-year teacher, I have days when I find myself treating life’s necessities, like sleeping, as if they were optional activities.”(more)

Refocusing professional development to make good teachers great

Education Dive – Dr. Brent Raby

“Research shows that an effective teacher can have a tremendous impact on a child’s learning. Therefore, to truly improve education, it is vital to focus on the classroom teacher. In West Aurora School District 129, we knew we needed to improve our professional learning program. In student achievement, our district ranked in the bottom 25% of Illinois districts. Sixty-seven percent of our students are economically disadvantaged, and many require additional programs, resources, and support. Our community had experienced a large influx of immigrants, and many of these children had no formal education. Our schools were serving a growing number of English language learners (ELLs) and students with disabilities. At the same time, we were losing teachers certified to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) and special education. In addition, statewide curriculum changes demanded that teachers have more specific certifications, exacerbating the teacher shortage.”(more)

California defines ‘effective’ and ‘ineffective’ teachers, and why it matters

Ed Source – John Fensterwald

“Intern teachers in programs like Teach for America who earn their preliminary credential while on the job will not have the scarlet letter of being labeled an “ineffective teacher” in California. In adopting the state plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act on Wednesday, the State Board of Education resolved a remaining contentious issue: the definition of an “ineffective teacher.” It decided not to include teachers with intern credentials in the definition after much testimony from former intern teachers and districts that readily hire them. All teachers with a teaching credential — including the standard “preliminary” teaching credential through a traditional teacher preparation program or an intern credential — will now meet the definition of ‘effective.'”(more)