I usually only post a weekly round-up of education policy posts, as I did yesterday. However, today, some very good and timely ones came up and I decided to post a “special edition”:
Rick Hess posted a very articulate analysis of the Gates Foundation MET study on teacher effectiveness. It’s definitely worth reading the entire post, but here’s an excerpt:
But I do think it’s a mistake to imagine that ability to move reading and math scores is universally a compelling proxy for being a “good” teacher. And when we calibrate all of our other instruments based on their ability to predict value-added gains on reading and math assessments, we build our entire edifice of teacher quality on what strikes me as a narrow and potentially rickety foundation. When we see policymakers mandate teacher evaluation systems that rely almost wholly on observation and value-added, and feel comfortable in doing so because of the MET findings, I fear we’re getting way ahead of ourselves.
MET has made an enormously valuable contribution. Even when the results are mundane, they’re useful. After all, the finding that nothing predicts value-added scores nearly as well as value-added scores shouldn’t unduly surprise, nor should the sparse evidence on the value of observational protocols (much like professional development, I think observation has long been more impressive in concept than practice.) But, more than anything, I hope that we resist the temptation to narrow our conception of good teaching to a handful of things we can conveniently measure, and instead make smart use of the MET findings while also seeking ways to more robustly gauge teacher performance.
Martin Luther King Jr. Understood Poverty and So Do Teachers is by John Wilson at Ed Week. I’m adding it to The Best Places To Learn What Impact A Teacher & Outside Factors Have On Student Achievement.
Accountability VS. Responsibility in Education is by John Holland at TransformED.