The final State Board of Education superpower that we’ll look at for this week is the ability to require that student growth be given significant weight in teacher and principal evaluations.

Now let’s take a time-out to talk about what we mean when we say “student growth” because we know this phrase alarms some interested parties.

We DO NOT mean that a teacher will be penalized for the poor performance of a student with particularly low capacity for academic success. We are NOT talking about comparing a low-performing student to a high-performing student and then penalizing teachers when the numbers don’t match up.  That just wouldn’t be fair. And it also wouldn’t tell us whether a teacher or principal is doing a good job.

What we ARE talking about is comparing each student to his or her own progress.  The key word is “growth” here; we want to see that all students, even the less academically inclined, are learning something, and making consistent progress, every year. That’s why we send them to school, right?

So HOW can we measure this type of growth? It’s explained really well in this article by The Education Trust. The process basically requires looking at multiple years of data on each teacher’s or principal’s individual students, and figuring out how much academic growth these students have normally made year-to-year. That way, we can set a prediction for what each student’s growth should be if his or her teacher does the job right. A successful teacher’s students will meet that expectation. An excellent teacher’s students will exceed it (i.e., an excellent teacher’s students will grow more under that teacher’s tutelage than he or she has in previous years).

The State Board of Education has the statutory authority to adopt a model evaluation program, with indicators of student growth. And the Board can choose how large a role this indicator should play in evaluating teachers and principals. It makes sense to us that student growth should play a significant role in determining whether our teachers and principals are performing well. Every other professional in the country is evaluated based upon how well the job is done.

What do you think?

And, while your mulling it over, don’t forget that the Board has other powers as well – beyond the three we’ve looked at this week. Check out some others that we have outlined here. Let’s flex those muscles, SBE!

3 thoughts on “Powers of the SBE, Part 3: Student Achievement in Evaluations

  1. Wayne McDermott says:

    Every other professional in the country is evaluated based upon how well the job is done
    An odd comparision ,The professional in the private sector do’s not have to deal with all the Social issues that a teacher has to,when that issue becomes a problem that issue is removed unless that profession works for a private school responsable for takeing care of that issue!

  2. Juana says:

    You have no idea what you are talking about.

    When was the last academic year you spent teaching in Bridgeport with a class load of over 100 students whose home environments for the most part do not value or respect education?

    Tell me about the last time you called a parent to discuss ways to help their child do their homework and were told to “stop picking on my child”?

    • Paul says:

      If the Govenor and all is infinite wisdom could walk a day … a week … or better yet a school year in any teacher’s shoes, he would never make a comparison to every other professional in the country. Every other profession in the country can send back their “supply” if it is defective so they can add value. In the teaching profession, students come to school every day with issues relating to the family unit and the general erosion of work habits based on today’s popular cultural values. Teachers need students who are ready to learn and have no control over the skills and work habits (or lack thereof) they come to school with!! We can not send them back home, and tell their parents they can not comeback to school until they develop the prerequisite skills and work habits necessary to succeed at school and in life. Teaching is like no other profession. Stop picking on teachers!!! You want to make a comparison, here’s one: There is no other profession that is more dedicated and works harder that receives more blame and criticism for doing their job than teachers! Here is some business language other professions might understand … there is limited return on investment. Why teach??? Teacher evaulation should therefore not be based on standardized test scores. There is no validity when you consider using one test a year in which students can take the test and have a bad day(s) based on any number of issues they are dealing with be used as a valid measure of teacher performance. It could reflect apathy, depression, anxiety or any other ill besides aptitude. Learning can not be measured using such a singular measure, convenient though it may be!

Comments are closed.