A great over view of teacher evaluation (and why it is screwed up more than people think)

I have to give credit to the Washington Post.  Today there is a great article giving people an overview of how pseudoscientific education has become … that in the quest to scientificize education by using data to measure things, they actually create something that is just incomprehensible.  some highlights:

  • Since only math and English language scores are being assessed, all teachers are being assessed on those scores.  This article highlights an art teacher who saw their evaluation drop because they had students who were poor at math because this was all based on scientifically gathered and calculated data, so it must be right.
  • A reminder that Michelle Rhee, who is one of the more despised people in the educational community these days because of her love for data and its misuse, decided to link everyone’s evaluation in Washington DC schools to test scores … this includes janitors, secretaries, and the people in the lunch room.  No, that last sentence is not a joke or hyperbole.
  • A revisit of how VAM is hurting teachers if they have top performing students.  Under the wholly discredited VAM (which is the basis of almost all teacher evaluations now), a student’s test score is predicted by science.  If the student scores above or below that, it must be the teacher.  This article nicely highlights a gifted teacher who had students VAM predict scores that were higher than the total points possible for the test, and when one student scored perfectly on the test … the teacher’s evaluation went down because the student failed to meet their predicted score (in fact it was not just that student … despite having a lot of students do very well on the test, the VAM still managed to bring the evaluation down because many students could not reach an impossibly high score.


Despite what must, to any logical person, look surreal to any person with a functioning mind, there are politicians, educational researchers, and administrators who continue to embrace these reforms, and tend to label any opponents as extremists.


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