Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Teacher evaluations to be 50% student data?

Looks like Nancy Grasmick is acting unilaterally to make student growth 50% of teacher evaluations rather than simply a "significant" portion, as required by the new state law. Interesting, because MCPS and the MCEA seemed to "slap five" after the Maryland state law was passed, arguing that they've already got it covered. It seems this is the states's shot off the bow of that celebration, and will force MCPS to go back to the drawing board.

If this is the state's way of calling out MCPS, then I'm all for it. It's time MCPS and MCEA engage in real meaningful reform that incentivizes the teaching profession. Come up with a system that rewards teachers for doing their job well. Reward teachers who work hard, not those who just get by. There is room to create this reform, even within or with additions to the current PGS and PAR system, but only if they engage the process. MCPS should lead and initiate like places such as New Haven, Connecticut are already doing. The alternative is to continue to make arguments for the status quo. Figure out how teachers can track their performance using a value-added approach to student performance. Figure out how to do the same for administrators who could potentially have more power under new system. It's high time we improved the profession once and for all.


  1. What about the teachers who have students taking the ALT-MSA? Everyone knows (teachers, administrators, parents) that the ALT-MSA is meaningless, and if it does measure anything, it is how well the teacher assembled the package, NOT how much the student learned about so-called adapted grade level curriculum.
    One of my autistic son's teachers spent her time drilling him on acute and obtuse angles, and Shakespeare! and Cell Division! when he was 10th grade age...when she could have been teaching him how to shelve books in a library, or fold laundry, or mop a floor. I would mightily object if it came to pass that my son's "results" on the ALT-MSA had anything to do whatsoever with her evaluation! She knows and I know that she did teach him valuable life skills that year. For him, life skills=priceless. Geometry=meaningless.

  2. I agree with you. There will have to be different ways to measure different teachers who teach different programs. We can't try to create a one size fits all type of evaluation system. But as long as there is clarity on what the system is, and what students need to know and be able to do to demonstrate they've mastered what ever material it is we deem valuable to know, then I think we can create an evaluation system that is a step forward from the current one.