Not so sure I buy into the “objective measure” argument in regards to student test scores being an inarguable method of insight into teacher performance. I mean just because all kids take the same test well, does it really mean that their performance on those tests translate so flawlessly to “windows on the teacher at the front of the room”?.
For example, just the other day a teacher in 11th grade showed me his grade book for his 5th period class.
It looked like it had been shot up by gunfire. Zero, zero, zero… bullet holes everywhere.
He showed me a kid who had perfect attendance and yet had 17 doughnut holes (i.e. “did not turn in work”, scores of zero) in a row.
The kid came.
The kid showed up.
The kid did nothing.
The kid has issues. He is short a zillion credits, doesn’t even bring a backpack to school and certainly doesn’t look like he has much of a chance of graduating.
Conversely, another kid in that same class has terrible attendance… but shows up just often enough so that the school has not yet bounced him off the roster.
Bullet holes in the grade book – for both of them. It’s an entire class like that.
Are either of these kids going to reflect test scores that 1) favor this teacher or 2) prove anything about this teacher’s merit?
Cause this is a good teacher. A guy who tries. A guy who shows up and takes the “lowest kids” because he feels he can reach them.
And he likes to reach them. It’s his life’s work. But nope, he doesn’t reach all of them. Not even close.
Aren’t these kids actually illuminating shortcomings of…
…as much as they are illuminating the shortcomings of educators?
Does this man deserve to be demonized? Who is going to want to take on our most challenging kids, the ones that need the most help, if there are draconian punishments waiting for those who do not “deliver measurable performance”?
Perhaps he reaches all those kids… when they are 22 years old and finally decide that they are gonna stop being a screw-up and listen to Mr. _______’s words — the ones that have been hauntingly careening through their head for the past seven years?
Now, take a guess at what an AP Calculus teacher’s grade book looks like. There might not be straight A’s for everyone but it certainly isn’t bullet holes all around either.
Those kids work. They show up, turn in assignments and even do extra credit assignments when they already have an A in the course.
Whaddya think his scores are going to reflect on the state tests? (Especially since they barely touch on Algebra II in their most challenging form.)
Doesn’t the actual teaching assignment you get directly have a correlation to the test scores your students deliver? At least in a measure that deserves some real weight?
And is any weight given?
No, it is not.
(Because that’s just liberal coddling and buying into having low expectations for our children, I assume. After all, it’s No Child Left Behind by 2014… even if they are leaving themselves behind.)
Just not sure about how apples equal oranges on this front. And I am HUGELY skeptical of the word “objectivity”.