Articles tagged with report

Teacher evaluation is broader than test scores, NSBA’s Center for Public Education finds

K-12 teacher evaluation systems today are more refined and useful for improving teachers’ skills and connecting teachers to student achievement than past models, a new national report that examines states’ teacher evaluation policies by the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Center for Public Education (CPE) finds.

Trends in Teacher Evaluation: How States are Measuring Teacher Performance,” offers an overview of changes in teacher evaluation systems by state. The report also describes states’ use of evaluation data for personnel decisions and continuous improvement.

Though more states are using student test scores to evaluate teachers, state standardized test scores make up only a small part of a teacher’s evaluation, the report finds.

Similarly, while many lawmakers and educators still question the use of student performance as a measure of instructional effectiveness, misconceptions abound that student performance receives more weight than report findings show—currently, no state uses individual student achievement data as more than 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. Nearly all states that do rely on scores from state standardized tests do so as just one of multiple measures of student achievement.

“In the past five years, 38 states have altered their teacher evaluation systems to include some measure of student performance,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “With variations across teaching and learning models, school boards and district officials need state support and the ability to adapt teacher evaluation models to meet the needs of local schools.”

Highlights of newer systems in place across states include: the use of multiple stakeholders to design and implement evaluation tools; multiple measures to show teacher effectiveness; and data that link teacher and student achievement.

“New models of teacher evaluation can help improve instructional quality and provide teachers with added support and additional resources,” said CPE’s Senior Policy Analyst Jim Hull, author of the report. “Most states have done a good job of vastly improving teacher evaluation systems by listening to the experts and relying on a wider range of criteria, such as classroom observation and student performance data. Interestingly, these evaluations are often used to help all teachers improve their skills, not just as a tool to identify and replace ineffective teachers.”

The report follows CPE’s 2011 report, “Building A Better Evaluation System,” that examines best practices in teacher evaluations. Federal programs, including the No Child Left Behind law and Race to the Top grants, have recently provided incentives to states to revamp their evaluation systems. Historically, teacher evaluations have simply labeled teachers as satisfactory or not, giving no feedback on how to improve their skills.

Alexis Rice|October 9th, 2013|Categories: Teachers, Center for Public Education, Center for Public Education Update|Tags: , , , , |

New report finds teachers need more effective professional development to meet higher standards

Despite decades of research, teacher professional development is not adequately helping teachers to develop their students’ critical thinking skills and subject matter knowledge so that they can be ready for college and the workplace, a new report by the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Center for Public Education (CPE) finds.

Teaching the Teachers: Effective Professional Development in an Era of High Stakes Accountability,” reports that ongoing, dedicated time for collaboration and coaching is the most effective way to help teachers develop needed classroom skills, but most professional development exercises are one-time workshops that research shows have no lasting effect. An estimated 90 percent of teachers participate in some form of professional development each year, but the vast majority receive it in workshops.

“Effective professional development is a key factor in improving student achievement and better preparing our students for the challenges of the 21st century economy,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “We already see that public schools are facing greater accountability for their students’ learning, and now teachers in the states that implement the Common Core State Standards will be under intense pressure to teach their students critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”

The report notes that professional development that is ongoing, collaborative and connected to the teacher’s subject area produces the largest student gains. The biggest challenge for teachers, research shows, is implementing the skills they have learned in their classrooms.

The report also looked at effective practices and found that:
• Professional development is best delivered in the context of the teacher’s subject area;
• Working with a coach or mentor is shown to be highly effective;
• Although research on effective critical thinking strategies is lacking, teachers in some areas have established professional learning communities to create best practices and coach each other;
• Case studies show that some school districts may be able to reallocate spending to provide better professional development opportunities without spending significantly more.

Teachers’ time is the most significant cost consideration for effective professional development. Further, professional development is often one of the first areas cut in tight budget times.

“Teachers need embedded time for collaboration and support while they attempt to change their practices,” said CPE Director Patte Barth. “But time is money. When budgets are pinched, districts may be tempted to go with one-time workshops which cost fewer dollars. But a low price is still too high if there is no impact on student learning.”

Teaching the Teachers: Effective Professional Development in an Era of High Stakes Accountability,” was written by Allison Gulamhussein, a doctoral student at George Washington University and a former high school English teacher, who was a policy intern for the Center for Public Education.  View Gulamhussein’s analysis of this report in American School Board Journal.

Alexis Rice|September 10th, 2013|Categories: School Boards, Center for Public Education, American School Board Journal, Center for Public Education Update, Reports|Tags: , , |

Qualified teachers still the key to improving math and science education, new report says

Photo courtesy of Stockvault

Photo courtesy of Stockvault

“Don’t go asking those ‘why’ questions!”

That, in essence, is what a high school math teacher told a relative of mine a few years back when she and some of her classmates were struggling to understand algebra. I don’t have to tell you why that comment disturbs me, but here goes: Good teachers would do almost anything to get their students to ask more “why” questions, and here this person was discouraging them. “Just plug the figures into the

formula,” she seemed to be saying, “and get the right answer.”

I probably also don’t need to say that my relative — who, I might add, is extremely bright and witty –is not planning a career in math or science. 

I thought about that “no why questions” reprimand last week at the unveiling of a major report by the Carnegie Corporation called The Opportunity Equation: Transforming Mathematics and Science Education for Citizenship and the Global Economy.  

The report says that the United States must dramatically improve math and science education for all students if it is to compete in the global economy.

One key to unlocking student potential is attracting more and better teachers to the hard-to-staff STEM fields (science, technology engineering, and math), the kind who would welcome those very “why” questions.

Naomi Dillon|June 16th, 2009|Categories: Student Achievement, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , |

Seniority ranks; How cutting from the bottom results in larger staff reductions

Today, let’s begin with a little math quiz — a grim one, unfortunately.

The economy’s bad, your district budget is in the red, federal stimulus funds won’t cover the gap, and you have to cut from the only place left to cut: personnel.

If you have to reduce personnel costs by 10 percent, what percentage of your workforce do you have to cut?

Easy: 10 percent, right?

Wrong. And if you’re a school board member or work in a school district, you probably know why. The real answer: When lay-offs are determined, they are usually based on seniority. So, to achieve a 10 percent reduction in personnel costs, you have to cut 14.3 percent of your workforce.

That’s the conclusion that Research Associate Marguerite Roza, of the University of Washington’s Center on Reinventing Public Education, reaches in her recent report: “Seniority-Based Layoffs Will Exacerbate Job Loss in Public Education.”

Here’s how it works, the report says:

“When districts reduce head counts, they eliminate the most junior personnel in each job classification (teachers, aides, custodians, etc.). For each job classification, the most junior employees tend to be the lowest paid. Inevitably, the salaries of those laid off are lower than the district average. That means cutting, say, 5 percent of the junior personnel will reduce salary expenditures by less than 5 percent. Instead, more than 5 percent of the workforce will need to be cut in order to reduce salary expenditures by 5 percent.”

Naomi Dillon|March 10th, 2009|Categories: Educational Research, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , , |
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