Any classroom teacher could have looked at Day 2 of the NY State ELA Exam that was administered last week on Wednesday and known that it was too much for students to complete in the alotted 90 minutes.
Officials in states like Tennessee who are testing new teacher evaluation systems required by the Obama administration are struggling with problems philosophical and logistical.
Spurred by the requirements of the Obama administration’s Race to the Top competition, Tennessee is one of more than a dozen states overhauling their evaluation systems to increase the number of classroom observations and to put more emphasis on standardized test scores. But even as New York State finally came to an agreement last week with its teachers’ unions on how to design its new system, places like Tennessee that are already carrying out similar plans are struggling with philosophical and logistical problems.
Staying Late and Working Weekends...
to complete reviews with more than 100 reference points.In Nashville, teachers are redesigning lessons to meet the myriad criteria — regardless of whether they think that is the best way to teach.And at Bearden High School in Knoxville, Tenn., physical education teachers are scrambling to incorporate math and writing into activities, since 50 percent of their evaluations will be based on standardized tests, not basketball victories.
Observations: 6 for new teachers, 4 for tenured teachers + pre-conference + post-conference + 4-6 hours to input data
the legislature required that half of a teacher’s evaluation be based on annual observations and half on student achievement data. The following year, the state board of education added specifics: each year, principals or evaluators would observe new teachers six times, and tenured ones four times.
Principals Inundated With Paper Work
“It’s one thing to be observing — I love that, it’s my primary role,” said Troy Kilzer, the 44-year-old principal of Chester County High School. “But you know when a good lesson is being taught without looking at a rubric.”Mr. Kilzer said the new system had led to more precise discussions with teachers about their skills and better lesson planning. But he can hardly keep up with the work.For principals, it is not just the observations, but also the pre-conference (where teachers explain and show the lesson), the post-conference (where observers explain what teachers might have done better) and four to six hours inputting data. “We are spending a lot of time evaluating people we know are very good teachers,” Mr. Kilzer said.My Take I worked in this type of system, which was tied to merit pay. Sound familiar? It was an unmitigated disaster, which never improved teaching. This system is designed to tie administrators in knots and, supposedly, make it easier to fire teachers. These so-called evaluation systems have nothing to do with building teacher capacity and improving instruction. These evaluation systems are about making it easier to fire principals and teachers.
"As much as showing the content of the classes, the videos help teachers identify techniques for organizing a lesson or eliciting sophisticated questions from students...."
"The District of Columbia is not the only public school district or educational organization that is using video for the professional development of teachers. Teaching Channel, a nonprofit, has amassed more than 500 videos of teachers who are recommended by school districts, teaching organizations and a panel of advisers."
"Uncommon Schools, which runs 32 schools, mostly in Brooklyn and Newark, show videos like these during teacher training.
A YouTube video shows Juliana Worrell, a first-grade teacher, with her students at North Star Academy Vailsburg Elementary School."
A small, but high quality, selection of teacher videos, with links to sources for more. -JL
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