The week in blogs: The sum total of value-added teacher evaluations

Many criticisms of value-added teacher evaluations are based on misconceptions of how the systems work and how they should be used in a comprehensive teacher evaluation program.

That’s what Jim Hull, a senior policy analyst at NSBA’s Center for Public Education, points out in a series of blogs appearing this week in response to comments by education historian Diana Ravitch and Washington Post education blogger Valerie Strauss. All totaled, the three blogs provide a good introduction to what value-added is — and, perhaps equally important, what it isn’t.

“As the Center for Public Education report Building a Better Evaluation System states, value-added scores can be an effective tool in accurately identifying effective and ineffective teachers,” Hull writes, “but they should be used within the context of a comprehensive evaluation system that includes observations and other qualitative measures of a teacher’s performance.

Is education technology the key to solving our K12 problems? That’s an exaggeration, of course, but Time columnist Andrew Rotherham says we’re often seduced by what technology can do and consider it a panacea. No Luddite he, Rotherham presents a compelling argument for being purposeful and realistic when you consider new technology for the classroom.

Lastly, read Brett Nelson on Forbes (who comes to us via Joanne Jacobs’ blog) on why students should delay college for two years and get what he calls “grownup training.”

“Specifically: six months spent working in a factory, six in a restaurant, six on a farm and six in the military or performing another public service such as building houses, teaching algebra or changing bedpans,” Nelson writes. “. . . I’d reckon that grownup training would put undergrads deeply in touch with 1) why they wanted to go college in the first place, 2) what a special opportunity college really  is, and 3) more than a vague notion of what — and better yet — who they wanted to be when they grew up.”

Lawrence Hardy|January 28th, 2012|Categories: Center for Public Education, Educational Technology, Teachers|Tags: , |

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