Monday, September 6, 2010

WHEN DOES HOLDING TEACHERS ACCOUNTABLE GO TOO FAR?

The Los Angeles Times invited pandemonium when a team of its reporters published a value-added analysis of Los Angeles School Districts' individual teachers' progress scores, saying it was providing transparency for parents. The technique used is controversial, to say nothing of the report and its release. And then in Washington, school chancellor Michelle Rhee fired over 100 teachers before school started, based on value-added scores. Is it an appropriate measure of accountability? As this article points out, value-added scores are often swayed by the appointment of students to classes; it's not a random system, so lower scores accompany low-skilled learners in the first place. Some suggestions included here: improving standardized tests and adding peer reports to teacher evaluations. And here's one: how about transparency for student homework and studying? 

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