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Rescooped by Brandon Jensen from Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks

Bill Gates: Don't Overuse Tests in Teachers' Evaluations | Education Week

Bill Gates: Don't Overuse Tests in Teachers' Evaluations | Education Week | PD for Principals | Scoop.it

Philanthropist Bill Gates has penned an op-ed in The Washington Post, in which he warns that hastily chosen teacher-evaluation measures, including a sole or predominant focus on student test scores, run the risk of bringing down the entire effort to improve teacher reviews.


"As states and districts rush to implement new teacher development and evaluation systems, there is a risk they'll use hastily contrived, unproven measures," Gates writes in the piece. "One glaring example is the rush to develop new assessments in grades and subjects not currently covered by state tests. Some states and districts are talking about developing tests for all subjects, including choir and gym, just so they have something to measure."


Exhibit A: A gym teacher evaluation instrument that lists improvement in students' "skipping technique" among measures that would be used to judge teacher performance. (The Thomas B. Fordham Institute also wrote about this example just a week ago.)


Gates goes on to say that he understands teachers' concerns about using standardized tests, noting that while there "is justification for rewarding teachers based in part on how their students perform, compensation systems should use multiple measures, including classroom observation," and should help teachers collaborate and access opportunities to improve their craft.


Click headline to read more--

Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
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Rescooped by Brandon Jensen from Leading Schools

School Leaders: Don't Let Your Teachers Lose Heart - The Activity Syndrome Revisited

School Leaders: Don't Let Your Teachers Lose Heart - The Activity Syndrome Revisited | PD for Principals | Scoop.it

In an April 3 Education Week commentary, retired teacher, Laurie Barnoski, offers suggestions for how school administrators can support teachers. 

Via Mel Riddile
Mel Riddile's curator insight, April 8, 2013 7:43 PM

This is not the 1990s! Activity does not equal success. This teacher named eighteen major initiatives being implemented in her school at the same time including: 
  1. Standards-Based Grading
  2. Standards-Based Instruction
  3. Common Core Standards
  4. New Teacher Evaluation
  5. Common Grading
  6. Ninth Grade Transition
  7. EOC - end-of-course assessment 
  8. CHAMPS - conversation, help, activity, movement, participation, and success
  9. CRISS - creating independence through student-owned strategies
  10. Love and Logic
  11. Pyramid to Intervention
  12. Response to Intervention
  13. Learning Targets
  14. Data Walks
  15. TPEP - teacher-principal evaluation project
  16. SIP - school improvement plan
  17. ACT - academic collaboration time
  18. PBIS - positive behavioral intervention and support 

These teachers are feeling overwhelmed, and they should!
  1. Too many initiatives means no focus.
  2. The initiatives are being implemented too quickly.
  3. The inititiaves are not being evaluated properly.
  4. Time and paperwork requirements  for teachers are enourmous. 
The Bottom Line
  • I wish I could say that this teacher's experience is rare, but it is actually more typical of what is happening across the country.
  • No rational person would believe that it would be possible to implement eighteen new initiatives at one time. 
  • Sadly, the lack of focus and the resultant dissipation of effort will not only demoralize teachers but doom all eighteen initiatives to fail miserablly.
Action Steps

  1. Meet with your teacher leaders.
  2. List all the initiatives being implemented in your school.
  3. Categorize them into "must do", "need to do" and "nice to do" initiatives.
  4. Limit your "must do" initiatives to 3 not more than 5.
  5. Remove initiatives from your list.
  6. Make sure that the "must do" items get done before you move on to "need" and "nice" items.
  7. Do not take on any new initiatives without talking with your teachers first.

I had a favorite interview activity for prospective assistant principals. I would give them a list of issues and ask them to rank order them in importance. About half the applicants could not decide what issues required their immediate attention. To them, all the items had equal importance. The inability to differentiate between the importance of issues facing any leader dooms that person to certain failure.

For ten years our school had a simple plan--RAGS--Reading plus Attendance means better Grades and a Safer School. We focused on literacy and attendance for a decade and it paid off.