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The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments

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'critical thinking rubric' photo (c) 2007, Rob Loftis - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

As I’ve mentioned, I’m part of a group of teachers working with The Center For Teaching Quality that’s preparing a policy report on Teacher Working Conditions and how they relate to student learning.

I’ve previously shared some of the materials I’ve found useful in my research — see The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation. You might also be interested in The Best Posts For Learning About The NEA’s New Policy Statement on “Teacher Evaluation and Accountability.” Here’s another one: The Best Articles Describing Alternatives To High-Stakes Testing.

Also: The Best Resources On The Newly-Released California Educator Excellence Task Force Report.

I thought I’d share some more resources in this new list. My hope is that not only will readers find them useful, but that you’ll be able to suggest more.  I’ll be working on a report covering this topic next week, so thanks in advance for your recommendations.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Learning About Effective Student & Teacher Assessments:

STUDENT ASSESSMENTS:

Today, Jay Mathews wrote a column in the Washington Post titled Intriguing alternative to rating schools by tests. He speaks very positively about the student assessment process used by the New York Performance Standards Consortium.

The term “performance-based assessment” is a term used to describe one way to evaluate student achievement (the Consortium’s process would fit into this category). This basically means that students are evaluated on work they have “constructed” as opposed to choosing from a list of pre-determined answers. This could mean a writing assessment, similar to what is done in Vermont or Kentucky, or filling-in the blanks in a cloze (there are usually multiple appropriate responses), or describing how a student would develop a science experiment. The Stanford Center For Opportunity Policy In Education has developed a brief that lays-out the case for performance-based assessment and how it might be implemented. You can also learn more about this topic here.

The Other Kind of Testing is a good column by Walt Gardner in Education Week. It’s about “performance-based assessment” for students

Monty Neill from Fair Test has had a commentary published in Ed Week titled A Better Way to Assess Students and Evaluate Schools.

Judge Students’ Performance by Their “Greatest Hits Collection,” Say Some Educators is an article by Linda Blackford.

NEA Partners With Teach Plus & Creates Online Rating System For Student Assessments

Focus on portfolios: 4 advantages of alternative assessment is by Adam Simpson.

5 steps to using self-assessment in the classroom is by Adam Simpson.

Creating Systems of Assessment for Deeper Learning is by Linda Darling-Hammond and others.

Assessing English language learners is my post at The British Council’s TeachingEnglish site.

Self-assessment through learning journals – Chrysa Papalazarou is from The British Council.

24 Assessments that don’t suck… is from Paul Bogush.

Is this really how we should test reading development in kids? is from The Washington Post.

TEACHER EVALUATIONS:

The Accomplished California Teachers (ACT) has published a report titled A Quality Teacher In Every Classroom: Creating A Teacher Evaluation System That Works For California.

Robert Marzano talks about teacher evaluation is his upcoming book, “Supervising the Art and Science of Teaching: A New Approach To Lesson Observation and Lesson Design.” In a speech to the National Association of Secondary School Principals, he made some great points (you can see the article about his speech in this PDF — scroll down to page four):

School leaders can’t use a checklist approach to observing teachers and providing feedback. Teacher observation requires a comprehensive model that acknowledges the segments that make up a lesson.

 

A comprehensive observation method includes teachers’ self-reflection, walkthroughs and formal observations by principals and peers…The goal…is for feedback to be part of the culture of the school.

In a recent article in Ed Week, James Stigler writes about the “lesson study” process in Japan, where teachers covering the same content meet regularly, develop their methods of student evaluation, and then meet together to examine the results. He contrasts that system of teacher accountability with those presently being suggested by Gates, Duncan, etc. He says W. Edwards Deming would call what Gates and Duncan want “the inspection method.” In reality, Deming says, “real and continuous improvement occurs only when the workers themselves study outcome variability and the processes that produce it.”

A study has just come out of Chicago which reinforces the potential effectiveness of using trained teachers to give feedback to colleagues. In the study, teachers were far more demanding than principals using the same evaluation system. It’s still too early to tell, though, about its effect on student achievement. This kind of system is apparently called Peer Assistance and Review.

The National Education Association has published a report titled “Teacher Evaluation Systems: The Window For Opportunity and Reform.”

Ed Week presents a very short summary of the framework for a “multiple measures” teacher assessment system recommended by Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers.

Challenges in Evaluating Special Education Teachers and English Language Learner Specialists is the title of a new report from the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. I haven’t had time yet to carefully review it, but at first glance it looks pretty good. In fact, I think it makes some good points that are relevant to evaluation issues for any teacher.

I’ve previously written about some simple advice on how teachers can evaluate themselves in What’s A Good Way For A Teacher To Evaluate Him/Herself?

In this blog post I share what evaluation methods have been helpful to me: Evaluating Teachers In Order To Fire Them?

Here’s a very interesting article written by a former director of research from Education Testing Service. Testing can help evaluate teachers, but it’s not the sole method: Too many factors affect how students perform, and lots of good teachers work hard for minor improvements is a long headline for a short, good article.

Here’s an excerpt:

Does this mean that testing makes no contribution to teaching? Absolutely not. Test scores tell teachers which students need help and where help is needed. And they also can tell school boards which schools need a bigger budget. Or a new principal.

But in evaluating a teacher, priority should be given to expert judgment. Principals and department heads worthy of their position know which teachers care about their students and know the strengths and needs of each one, which teachers are dedicated to what they teach and have advanced knowledge in the field, and which teachers painstakingly plan their lessons.

I’m going to add a guest post I wrote for The Washington Post titled “The best kind of teacher evaluation.”

Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness: How Teacher Performance Assessments Can Measure and Improve Teaching is a new report by Linda Darling-Hammond for the Center for American Progress.

Real ways to improve ‘teacher effectiveness’ is a guest op-ed in The San Francisco Chronicle.

Evaluations That Help Teachers Learn is an article in this month’s issue of Educational Leadership. It’s by Charlotte Danielson.

Getting Teacher Assessment Right: What Policymakers Can Learn From Researchis the title of what looks like a good new report from the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado. I have to admit I’ve only had a chance to skim it, but it appears to have a lot of wisdom.

Teachers: How do We Propose to Measure Student Outcomes? is a very good post by Anthony Cody at Ed Week.

Why politicians should spend time at school is another piece from Valerie Strauss’ blog.

Overconfidence in the Value of Measurement is by Walt Gardner at Education Week

The Test Generation is an article by Dana Goldstein that was just published in The American Prospect magazine.

Teacher Evaluations: Where Do We Go From Here? is a post from Learning First.

Linda Darling-Hammond on Teacher Evaluations through Student Testing appeared on the blog for NBC’s Education Nation.

5 reasons parents should oppose evaluating teachers on test scores appeared in Valerie Strauss’ Washington Post blog.

A Glut of New Reports Raise Doubts About Obama’s Teacher Agenda is by Dana Goldstein.

Helping Teachers Help Themselves is a New York Times article about teacher evaluation in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Teacher Evaluations: Don’t Begin Assembly Until You Have All The Parts is an excellent post by Matthew Di Carlo at The Shanker Blog.

How to Fix Accountability in U.S. Schools is by Justin Baeder at Ed Week.

EWA Research Brief: What Studies Say About Teacher Effectiveness comes from the Education Writers Association, and seems to have a pretty summary of research. Even though it covers a lot of areas, I decided to put in this “The Best…” list.

Letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Concerning Evaluation of Teachers and Principals comes from the National Education Policy Center.

Take your SGP and VAMit, Damn it! is by School Finance 101.

Linda Darling-Hammond’s Getting teacher evaluation right at The Answer Sheet may be THE piece on teacher evaluation.


Praise for peer evaluations
comes from Thoughts on Public Education.

Why Evaluate Teachers and Doctors Differently? is by Walt Gardner.

Conversations with Obama, Duncan on assessment appeared in Valerie Strauss’ blog.

Getting Serious About Teacher Evaluation is from Education Week.

Reforming the Teaching Profession: A Look at Teacher Quality Policy is a video of UC Professor Jesse Rothstein.

NEA Announces “New Action Agenda”

Taking Teacher Quality Seriously: A Collaborative Approach to Teacher Evaluation is from Rethinking Schools.

Using Standardized Tests to Evaluate Teachers is by Walt Gardner at Education Week.

Forging ahead with nutty teacher evaluation plan appeared in The Washington Post.

“Teaching Quality and California’s Future”

Opinion: Creating teacher evaluations systems Californians can believe in appeared in the San Jose Mercury News.

Getting Teacher Evaluation Right: A Background Paper for Policy Makers is by Linda Darling-Hammond and colleagues.

Interesting Interview With Charlotte Danielson

Evaluating Teacher Evaluation is by Linda Darling-Hammond and others.

“Socrates Fails Teacher Evaluation”

“Just Effective”: Is that good enough? is from Nancy Flanagan’s blog at Education Week.

“Evaluate Me, Please”

Hot Off The Press! The Best Piece Yet Published On Teacher Evaluation


Taking Teacher Quality Seriously: A collaborative approach to teacher evaluation
is by Stan Karp at Rethinking Schools.

This twelve minute video of Anthony Bryk from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is one of the best things I’ve seen about teacher evaluation. Among other points, he compares summative teacher evaluation with teacher improvement.

I learned about it from Matthew Di Carlo at The Shanker Blog, a “must-read” blog for educators.

It is (Mostly) About Improvement from EdWriters on Vimeo.

Can Teacher Evaluation Improve Teaching? is from Education Next.

What research really says on teacher evaluation is by Richard Rothstein.

How Using Test Scores To Evaluate Teachers Hurts Students

Assessing Ourselves To Death is by Matthew Di Carlo.

Sabotage as a Professional Responsibility is by Justin Baeder.

Thompson: Value-Added vs Objective Evaluations is by John Thompson.

Why Teacher Evaluation Shouldn’t Rest on Student Test Scores is from Fair Test.

A better way to grade teachers is by By Linda Darling-Hammond and Edward Haertel and appeared in the LA Times.

San Jose Unified, teachers reach breakthrough evaluation, pay plan is from Ed Source

The newest rhetoric on teacher evaluation — and why it is nonsense comes from The Washington Post.

Making Decisions About Teachers Based on Imperfect Data

Evaluating Teachers of ELLs in the Age of the CCSS is from Colorin Colorado.

The MET Project: The Wrong 45 Million Dollar Question is from ASCD Educational Leadership (thanks to Alfie Kohn for the tip).

3 Evaluation Issues We Need to Be Talking About is by Barnett Berry.

What’s Next: Evaluation As Narrative is by Barnett Berry.

Just how many ineffective teachers are out there?
is by Aaron Pallas.

Quote Of The Day: Dana Goldstein On History Of Teacher Evaluations

You Can’t Fix Teacher Eval Without Fixing Teacher Supply is by Paul Bruno.

On Teacher Evaluations, Between Myth And Fact Lies Truth is from The Shanker Blog.

Quote Of The Day: “How Do You Evaluate Teachers Who Change Lives?”

Hidden power of teacher awards is by Jay Mathews at The Washington Post.

Quote Of The Day: Using Test Scores To Evaluate Teachers


Teacher evaluation panel 2013 Education Writers Association National Seminar
is by Ray Salazar, and has some interesting thoughts on teacher evaluations. He also links to a very insightful post he previously wrote on Doug Lemov’s teaching strategies.

San Jose teachers, board adopt landmark teacher evaluation system is from Ed Source.

Evaluating The Evaluators is by Barnett Berry.

Policymakers, do your homework on evaluation reform is an important post by Barnett Berry.

Student achievement and teacher evaluations: The math doesn’t add up? is by Scott McLeod.

“Performance Anxiety”: Improving Measures for Teacher Evaluations is by Ilana Garon.

John Kuhn: Why Shouldn’t Teachers Be Graded, Too? appeared in Anthony Cody’s blog two years ago, but it’s a good one.

Changing The Language From Anti-Testing To Pro-Whole Child is by Jose Vilson.

Getting Teacher Evaluation Right is from The Shanker Blog.

Look to other ‘knowledge industries’ to get teacher evaluation right is by Barnett Berry.

Exemplary Teacher Evaluation, Part 1 is by Grant Wiggins.

Are We Learning From Evaluations? is from Education Week.

Here’s a series of exceptional posts on assessment that Marc Tucker has been writing over at Education Week.

The Failure of Test-Based Accountability

Accountability and Motivation

I’m eagerly awaiting his next post, where he says he “will describe accountability systems for education consistent with the ideas of McGregor, Drucker and Pink—systems embraced by the countries with the best education records in the world.”

Here are excerpts from his first two posts:

If-we-want-broad

Policymakers-have-placed

Testing To, and Beyond, The Common Core is by Linda Darling-Hammond is another important new article on assessment. Though I’m not thrilled with her apparent position that test results from next generation of state tests should be included in teacher evaluation (see The Problem With Including Standardized Test Results As Part Of “Multiple Measures” For Teacher Evaluation), it’s an important article to read, nevertheless.

Accountability: What the Top Performers Do

One piece of the whole (article by Linda Darling-Hammond) comes via Stanford.

Lesson Observations Are No Way To Grade Teachers is from Forbes.

Jack Schneider has written a good piece titled The High Stakes of Teacher Evaluation.

What If Teacher Evaluation Isn’t Actually Broken After All? by Paul Bruno is a really excellent post.

This Is One Of The Best Pieces I’ve Read On Teacher Evaluation: “The Problem with Outcome-Oriented Evaluations”


Teacher Evaluation: What Do We Want to Measure?
is from Ed Week.

Correcting a Harmful Misuse of Students’ Test Scores is by W. James Popham, and appeared in Ed Week.

How many bad teachers are there? is from The Hechinger Report.

On Teacher Evaluation is an interesting piece by Robert Slavin.

Cooks, Chefs, and Teachers: A Long-Form Debate on Evaluation (Part 3a) is by Ben Spielberg.

Teachers Should Be Evaluated Like Athletes: Here’s Why appeared in The Huffington Post.

Again, I look forward to your recommendations of resources to add to this list.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at the 460 other “The Best…” lists and consider subscribing to this blog for free.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

2 Comments

  1. Great article.
    I am really looking forward to the policy report on Teacher Working Conditions and how they relate to student learning. It sounds really interesting.

    I am always surfing the web to find good resources and when i do, i try and share them.

    A few weeks ago I found a place to get posters to hang in my
    classroom to inspire and motivate my students.
    I bought about 20 of them and they look great. I have not put them up in my classroom yet, but I will do that at as soon as we start.
    Here it is if someone is interested:
    http://www.artprintreproductions.com

    Again, thanks for the info, I really appreciate it.

  2. Dear Larry,

    Thank you,

    My I add my own on surviving your teacher evaluation year?

    http://expatteacherman.com/2012/07/04/surviving-your-teacher-evaluation-year/

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