Innovation for K12 Assessment

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How to Measure Educator Effectiveness

Educator Effectiveness

There are ongoing debates about how to truly measure student success in the K-12 environment. Are standardized tests a true barometer of student achievement and potential? Is there an easier way to evaluate the combination of classroom work and standardized tests to get a true indicator? How should teachers be evaluated in relation to the test results?

Organizations like Students First emphasizes the importance of excellent, effective teachers for all students and supports the expansion of effective teacher training and certification programs, professional development support, supervision, and leadership. However, they also advocate for a teacher -- and principal -- report card. Their criteria for measuring Educator Effectiveness includes student results, elimination of tenure, and pay based on teacher impact on student results. Teachers counter that if they are only teaching for the tests, it limits their ability to be creative and teachers aren’t the only factor in students’ success. Further, a teacher’s impact on students can happen years later when the student realizes how a teacher influenced their career.

In Colorado, after three years of development, state mandated teacher effectiveness evaluations will begin this year. There is much doubt and controversy. Half of the teachers’ point total will be based on student test scores. Student feedback will be considered. Administrators have been undergoing training to evaluate a teacher who is teaching a discipline the administrator might not be familiar. Teachers in the field will also evaluate. How a teacher uses technology and adjusts when the material is not understood will be among the criteria. Attaining and losing tenure could result. Some teachers are preparing for the evaluations more optimistically, seeing how they can be more effective.

Wisconsin is about to embark on teacher effectiveness evaluations as well, but the Greenfield School District has taken an interesting tact. They are part of the Southeastern Wisconsin New Teacher Project Consortium.  The program is a mentoring program for new teachers, while also training experienced teachers as mentors.  Among the goals is providing new teachers the opportunity to apply their knowledge and receive feedback.

Technology is trying to assist with improving student assessments and evaluation of educators’ effectiveness. The LearningStation Insight program has a myriad of benefits. First, it creates assessments based on thousands of questions aligned with specific state and “Common Core” standards. Results can be set up for grade level, school, teacher and classroom.  As this is online,

  • Students with problems can be identified and helped on a daily basis
  • Students can be grouped by their progress
  • Reports are always available
  • School Districts can login and see how individual schools are performing
  • Schools will have the results of teachers’ impact on student results, how the teacher responded to a struggling student, and how that student subsequently improved.
  • In the coolness department, students can access tests from a computer, iPad, iPhone, iPod, mobile devices and more.
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