Teacher ratings ineffective
Posted April 7, 2011 at 9:26 pm in Opinion
In an effort to better evaluate its teachers, the Los Angeles Unified School District this spring will implement their own âvalue-addedâ system, which involves a doctorate-level string of mathematical symbols and letters more than 80 characters long.
This âvalue-addedâ system looks at each studentâs past test scores to predict future scores, then generates a teacherâs effectiveness rating based on the gap between a studentâs predicted score and actual score.
The value-added formula is supposed to measure the value of teachers. In such a crucial setting as the classroom, a mathematical formula is a limiting and inaccurate means by which to measure human behavior.
Since the Los Angeles Times published names and rankings of roughly 6,000 third- through fifth-grade L.A. Unified teachers based on value-added evaluation, teacher assessment methods have been hotly debated.
The formula, however, is flawed. It does account for external factors that play a powerful role in student achievement. Test scores and statistics should not define good teaching, nor become a priority for teachers.
Admittedly, there is value in the reliability and objectivity of numbers and statistics when it comes to assessing our educational system. But looking at a teacherâs effectiveness through the scope of a state test given once a year is both limiting and inefficient.
And if data is the way to go, then active dialogue is necessary. Teachers should be required to engage with the numbers and to sit down and have a conversation with each other about how to improve.
Students should not be left out of the conversation, either. It is crucial that student evaluations of teachers be taken seriously and incorporated into teacher assessment.
As the nationâs second largest school district, LAUSDâs evaluation system could pave the way for many other districts. Amending and adding to the value-added formula to go beyond the numbers and to find the entirety of a teacherâs worth is imperative, for both teachers and students alike.
Elena Kadvany is a junior majoring in Spanish.