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Old 04-23-2010, 10:06 AM   #141
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Sometimes it doesn't seem that some people in the teaching profession understand that in other professions all jobs are measured and all performance is evaluated. Not perfectly, not fairly, in many cases, but most of the rest of us are subject to it and most of us have no control over the quality of the resources we are given. Somehow our management was able to quantify that this employee got the worst project to deal with (comparable to the worst lowest-performing incoming class in the history of PS129) and this employee got the best, and is able to adjust the evaluation accordingly.

To claim that one profession deserves to be exempt from that is what raises people's hackles, especially when that claim is made by someone who is in that profession and therefore has a vested interest in not being evaluated. There is nothing sacred about any profession (okay, maybe the clergy--no, scratch that when the Pope is named in a lawsuit: Pope Benedict and the Vatican Sued In Catholic Sex Abuse Case - ABC News) but most of us like to think what we do (or did) was just as important as what anyone else does. Not everyone could be a teacher, but not everyone could do what I did for a living, or Leonidas, or Martha, or REWahoo, either.
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:11 AM   #142
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You can defend educators all you want, but by just saying there's no way to measure the performance of teachers is a copout. There is a reason teachers unions across the country fight this tooth and nail, it would bring to light those teachers that are NOT up to par, and then the union and school districts would have to deal with that, and they don't want to go down that path.........

True, True, True... I am very surprised how much Emeritus continues to try and say teachers can not be measured... most of what I read from him is that teacher measurments are inaccurate... or are so flawed that they have not meaning. I disagree.

He also seems to think that the measure has to be so precise that we know exactly what was done (if I take a test on math, I get a number grade which I can compare to everybody else in class)... I also disagree... we do not need 'precision'...


I will go back to my days at working at one of the Big 8 firms (yes, I am that old)... when I was a advanced staff, I had to RANK every staff member from 1 to whatever... when I was a senior, all advanced staff and staff... so there could be 50 people I had to rank... It was not easy to say John was better than Sue... but I had to do it... the result... it really was easy to rank the top and the bottom... much harder to rank the middle..

But, when they put all the senior rankings and averaged them out... and also with the managers etc... the top were easily identified and also the 'bad'... the 'bad' got counseling or were asked to go find another place to work...

I think that bad teachers should be asked to go find another place to work... and as I have said... I KNOW when I had a good teacher or a bad teacher... Emeritus seem to think that every teacher I had was the same... (yes, putting words in your mouth... because if they are NOT the same, then we SHOULD be able to come up with something to say Sue is better than George)...

But... we digress and I do not think we will ever get him to admit that it might be a good thing to get rid of bad teachers...
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:15 AM   #143
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He also seems to think that the measure has to be so precise that we know exactly what was done (if I take a test on math, I get a number grade which I can compare to everybody else in class)... I also disagree... we do not need 'precision'...
A single measurement on a single metric can well be fatally flawed, but measuring several different things over a period of time -- looking for trends and patterns in the data -- are far less likely to be fatally flawed. If someone consistently "scores" high or low on a number of metrics over a period of time, I don't think it's an accident or a random thing. It tells you something regardless of your occupation.
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:18 AM   #144
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According to a recent national survey of more than 40,000 public school teachers in grades pre-K to 12, there are at least two best indicators of teacher performance:

Quote:
Student engagement and year over year progress of students are by far viewed as the most accurate indicators of teacher performance measures...
Now if we can only agree on how to accurately measure these two indicators, we'll have a solution.
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:21 AM   #145
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False dichotomy. There's no reason we *have* to keep looking at standardized test results as the one and only performance metric. It doesn't have to be standardized tests or nothing. There's no reason why one can't develop and consider other metrics as well. The outright hostility and determined opposition to any suggestions that educators be "measured" in terms of performance is, IMO, somewhat telling.
The problem with measuring teacher performance is not that teacher's don't want to have their performance measured. The problem with measuring teacher performance based on student performance in standardized tests is that we measure student on a very narrow window of time, on a very narrow set of subjects, with no way of having a baseline of what we can reasonably expect from the human beings that we are measuring. We don't even have a measure of how many of them are even able to perform well on standardized tests, just because they are standardized tests. It would be interesting to look at the data on the four Myers-Briggs temperament types as to how they generally perform on such tests. I would bet that the 38% that are in the SP category are uniformily lower no matter what their IQ is or other data is there.

Measuring a child's performance in school is not like measuring a car's performance on a track. Every teacher I ever knew tries to measure their performance, and I've been in this business for 40 years, and listened to my parents talk about it since I was 6 in 1955 since they were teachers too. There are huge numbers of not addressed variables in measuring a child's performance consistently, and then using those measures to measure a teacher's performance when they all mesh and interact together. Its very much like the debacle of measuring for global warming using tools that assume a linear progression in change when the change is not linear at all. Believe me when i tell you that change in human beings is not linear. And just like measuring a stock broker's performance is impacted by things outside of his manipulation of the numbers, there are so many variables that impact student performance that the teacher has no control over, and are not accounted for, that using student performance on standardized tests is just a bad joke that no real scientist would ever even consider. The non-science oriented or the politician doesn't seem to understand this.

For a time we had some measure that helped. We used to give mental ability tests. This at least gave us some measure of baseline what we had to work with. Its reasonable to assume that you could raise a child's performance to one standard deviation above the mean. Its not reasonable to assume that you can do more.

Much research has shown that you can raise the IQ on standardized tests of children from 100 to 115(one standard deviation). There is no research to show ANY WAY THAT YOU CAN RAISE IT TWO STANDARD DEVIATIONS TO 130.

I think that using student performance on tests as a way of measuring teacher performance is not unrealistic. But you have to have some way of measuring it using individual change in student performance, not whole class performance, making sure that there are not elements in a child's life that simply blow it all away(a divorce, moving to a new school, a death), and accounting for simple variation of the classes themselves from year to year. If you look at measurements, including more than just the tests, and look at them over a span of at least three years, it easy to see which teachers are doing better than others.

But like emeritus says, using one test of math in the spring of one year without knowing the individual abilities of the students, and many many other variables, is totally unfair.

Teachers that I know would welcome some objective way using multiple data to measure their performance.

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Old 04-23-2010, 10:22 AM   #146
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According to a recent national survey of more than 40,000 public school teachers in grades pre-K to 12, there are at least two best indicators of teacher performance:

Now if we can only agree on how to accurately measure these two indicators, we'll have a solution.

Oh golly do I wish it was that simple.
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:24 AM   #147
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:26 AM   #148
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There is simply is no research base that shows that can use student performance on standardized tests to demonstrate individual teacher influence on long term educational goals.
This measurement isn’t necessary. How about using student performance on standardized tests to measure school effectiveness and then rank teachers within the school based performance criteria specific to that school. This should make it easier to identify the lowest performing teachers.
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:26 AM   #149
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What is being missed is that most of us here on the board have 20+ years in the working world (business or professional) in measured performance-based work environments, in addition to 12-20 years of educational experience, in a measured performance based- learning environment. We have the real-world perspective that a lifetime in a cloistered educational environment lapping up NEA pablum cannot match.

To say we can't evaluate treachers and weed out the bottom feeders smacks of academic arrogance, protects the worst at the expense of the best, stifles growth, and is a big part of what is wrong in our educational system today. THe reason we are falling behind other developed nations isn't because our kids are genetically studiper, it's a top-down failiure to adapt, IMO.
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:32 AM   #150
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This measurement isn’t necessary. How about using student performance on standardized tests to measure school effectiveness and then rank teachers within the school based performance criteria specific to that school. This should make it easier to identify the lowest performing teachers.
OK, here I will defend the teachers a bit here. There are a lot of cultural and environmental factors that influence the effectiveness of a school and are thus largely out of the control of the teachers.

I will start with the suggestion that parents taking an active role and interest in their children's education are likely to have higher performing students than those who are disengaged with it.

A wealthier suburban school is much more likely to have parents who are engaged in their children's education, provide them with resources outside of school to help them achieve academically, and are probably going to push their kids (with carrots and sticks) to perform well.

In contrast, poorer districts are more likely to have lot of broken and single-parent households where the one parent is not engaged with their kid's education and the other parent is absent. I don't think it's fair to compare this school with the affluent suburban school because there are huge external socioeconomic factors which are likely to reflect poorly on the school in the troubled neighborhood. And I don't think you can extrapolate from those results and conclude that the teachers are less "competent" in the poor school (in the aggregate).

Having said that, it should be possible to measure progress or improvements within any given school. You may not be able to compare a poor inner-city school with a wealthy suburban school, but you should be able to compare any school with its own past history.
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:40 AM   #151
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Not sure what resemblance this thread has to public pension woes at this point. I know threads can be hijacked and drift, but wow...
At least I'm trying:
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We could hire day laborers at a low rate, and they won't expect any (getting back on topic here!) pensions at all.



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lets put up or shut up

how many think that pension advisors should be picked base on their score on a standardized test ?

If tests prove anything, this one should be easy since obviously there has to be a correlation between the score and their future performance (not past)
Who is willing to bet their retirement on a test score?
Do you actually think these are hard questions?

Here's the easy answer: If I were responsible for hiring someone to manage the investments of a pension fund, I certainly could put a test together to evaluate their fitness for the position. I'd certainly put more time/effort into it than this post, but right off the top of my head, it would cover questions to determine their understanding of:

1) The role of diversification in a portfolio.
2) Their understanding of risk (both investment and inflation risk).
3) The effect of fees, expenses and transaction costs on portfolio returns.
4) How to tailor risk to fit the age profile of the group.
5) How to adjust that over time.
6) The cons/cons of actively managed funds over index funds ( intentionally loaded question!).

And yes, you could put that in a standardized form, even multiple choice, true/false. And it could weed out inappropriate managers. And it would be part of the process - certainly there would be an interview to evaluate 'people skills', communication skills, etc. I don't think anyone has framed it that a standardized test is the single measurement or has 100% weighting over everything. But that doesn't mean it won't help or that it would not be useful as part of the process.


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No NO NO , you don't get to look at the track record
you only get to look at a score on a standardized test
You keep framing things in such improbable ways (like yardsticks to measure temperature) - what's up with that? And you seem to ignore what is being posted. We have talked about track records (performance improvement over time), so why exclude that? And why 'a score'? We talked of comparing scores over time.

-ERD50
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:43 AM   #152
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:44 AM   #153
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This measurement isn’t necessary. How about using student performance on standardized tests to measure school effectiveness and then rank teachers within the school based performance criteria specific to that school. This should make it easier to identify the lowest performing teachers.

What do you want to do when you find the lowest performing teachers?

And...... how do you deal with the other parts of the system like the pupil personnel specialists like the school counselors?
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:49 AM   #154
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THe reason we are falling behind other developed nations isn't because our kids are genetically studiper, it's a top-down failiure to adapt, IMO.
IMO it's because of the failure of (many) American mothers to do a good job with their kids during the years before school and the many hours the child has outside of school. Much of this is due to increasing demands on mothers to work, raise kids, and be Supermothers. I know I felt those pressures to an extreme extent and so do many other mothers who strive to do the best for their kids and family with only 24 hours in a day. But are we going to rate mothers and demote those that don't perform well? I don't think so. There isn't much a teacher can do if his efforts aren't reinforced at home.
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:54 AM   #155
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Much of this is due to increasing demands on mothers to work, raise kids, and be Supermothers. But are we going to rate mothers and demote those that don't perform well? I don't think so. There isn't much a teacher can do if his efforts aren't reinforced at home.
Agreed, and that goes back to my comment about external socioeconomic factors out of the control of the school and its staff. If a school has a lot of stay-at-home moms (or dads, even) who have the time, energy and financial resources to be engaged in their children's education (as would be the case in affluent suburban schools), it seems obvious that this school will "test" higher than one in a neighborhood where there are a lot of single moms working two jobs to put food on the table who has neither the time nor the energy to be involved. The failure of such a "poor" school to match the performance of the affluent school is not prima facie evidence of failure among the teachers or administrators of the poor school.
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Old 04-23-2010, 11:06 AM   #156
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Seattle's employee pension fund has already been hit hard by the recent stock market downturn.
Back on track...

If the pension funds were invested in the market and lost value, shouldn't pension payouts be adjusted to reflect the change in portfolio value? Why should public sector employeees be immune to market swings if they are investing for profits? It's unrealistic and unsustainable, and patently unfair to those of us who lost huge chunks of our portfolios right alongside them. Where is my guarantee of future performance?
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Old 04-23-2010, 11:21 AM   #157
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Back on track...

If the pension funds were invested in the market and lost value, shouldn't pension payouts be adjusted to reflect the change in portfolio value? Why should public sector employeees be immune to market swings if they are investing for profits? It's unrealistic and unsustainable, and patently unfair to those of us who lost huge chunks of our portfolios right alongside them. Where is my guarantee of future performance?
They are in Wisconsin.there are 2 buckets, fixed and variable. The variable bucket lost 25% or so in the 2008 meltdown, so in my dad's case. the variable payout amount of his pension went down 25%. It is reset each year. He grumbled but he only has 50% in variable. Mom has always been 100% in fixed so she didn't complain.........
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Old 04-23-2010, 11:24 AM   #158
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I will go back to my days at working at one of the Big 8 firms (yes, I am that old)... when I was a advanced staff, I had to RANK every staff member from 1 to whatever... when I was a senior, all advanced staff and staff... so there could be 50 people I had to rank... It was not easy to say John was better than Sue... but I had to do it... the result... it really was easy to rank the top and the bottom... much harder to rank the middle..

But, when they put all the senior rankings and averaged them out... and also with the managers etc... the top were easily identified and also the 'bad'... the 'bad' got counseling or were asked to go find another place to work...
I don't disagree with most of what Texas Proud said, but I do want to pick at a nit.

I too worked in a mega-corp that had a similar system. All the tech folk had to rank and rate their peers. All in all it was a good thing (although we all hated doing it) because you only ranked those you worked with (there were two lists, one for worked-with and one for worked-really-closely with) and so folks had a good gut feel for who contributed well; whether or not their names appeared on patents or papers.

Systems like this can't work for teachers because teachers don't work together like that. Nobody is in that classroom except the teacher and the students. You could ask the students, and colleges do, but the idea of asking a grade school student to rate teachers is just silly. Even in colleges, such ratings have to be viewed with an eye to which profs are famously easy graders.

If you tried to observe what is going on in the classroom, the mere act of observation would likely distort the results so as to be worthless.

There is an old management aphorism that goes like this: "If you measure it, it will improve." It is meant to be a warning. Two dangers immediately pop into mind.

1. You best be certain that you are measuring what is most important and have incentives properly aligned. If meeting a metric has significant rewards (or penalties for missing) then everything else will go to hell while that metric improves dramatically. I saw this first hand in industry.

One example of this from education comes from the Texas standardized testing program that later grew into No Child Left Behind. A UT/Rice study showed that the testing program significantly raised the dropout rate. Schools were disincentivized to retain poorly performing students. Better to let them go than to have them drag down the average scores.

Now I don't like the general tone of the article I just referenced, but I do think it is on to something.

2. People cheat. They will find a way to make that metric improve regardless of what it was trying to measure.

Another example from education. I don't have a reference here, but you probably remember headlines about principles getting caught using "creative" ways to report scores so that their schools seemed to perform better. (Or perhaps this was also part of the beginning of standardized tests in Texas, I don't remember.)

I too would like to find a way to identify good teachers for reward, and bad teachers to be rid of, but I fear more than a possible unfairness to teachers. I fear we could do serious damage to our school system.

Schooling is really complicated. It involves child development, and we surely can't claim to understand that. Measuring a teacher's performance isn't anything like measuring performance of an engineer. With an engineer, you can look at what he or she has accomplished. With teachers you have to look through one additional level of indirection. With a teacher, you have to look at how a class of students has improved.

I am really afraid of experimenting on a national (or even state) scale. We could be risking a generation of students. Hasn't somebody looked at teacher metrics somewhere? There are lots of independent school districts out there. None of them have tried anything like this? What about private schools, charter schools? What about other countries?

Public education has been around since the 1600s, and mandatory in all states (and free, just to irritate ERD50 ) since the end of the 19th century. ref. here I submit that it has served us well, and that we should be extremely careful about making drastic changes.

Sorry for the rant. My bad mood continues unabated.

Maybe this topic needs its own thread.
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Old 04-23-2010, 11:30 AM   #159
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OK, here I will defend the teachers a bit here. There are a lot of cultural and environmental factors that influence the effectiveness of a school and are thus largely out of the control of the teachers. ./.Having said that, it should be possible to measure progress or improvements within any given school. You may not be able to compare a poor inner-city school with a wealthy suburban school, but you should be able to compare any school with its own past history.
Agree 100%.
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What do you want to do when you find the lowest performing teachers?

And...... how do you deal with the other parts of the system like the pupil personnel specialists like the school counselors?
I’m saying that schools can be measured and teachers can be measured. Every single school employee can be measured. They can be rated, ranked, compared, promoted and fired. Any organization that does not do this on a regular basis will fail.

I only jumped into this thread on this point because of my belief that professional performance can and must be measured and refreshed. Naysayers will focus on unmeasurable aspects of performance instead of identifying reasonable alternatives, and that this last reflects an institutional “self-preservation + full employment” attitude (IMHO).

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Back on track...[IMG]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/mbg/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/msohtml1/01/clip_image001.gif[/IMG]

If the pension funds were invested in the market and lost value, shouldn't pension payouts be adjusted to reflect the change in portfolio value? Why should public sector employeees be immune to market swings if they are investing for profits? It's unrealistic and unsustainable, and patently unfair to those of us who lost huge chunks of our portfolios right alongside them. Where is my guarantee of future performance? [IMG]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/mbg/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/msohtml1/01/clip_image002.gif[/IMG]
Yes. Voters may begin to pay more attention to the contracts being executed in (our) their name. Already happening in Illinois – for new employees. I’m not so sure how long people will put up with a two tier system, though. Taxpayers may soon engage some of the same crafty MBAs and lawyers that helped transform corporate pension financing to look at options here - with a likelihood of similar results.
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Old 04-23-2010, 11:33 AM   #160
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They are in Wisconsin.there are 2 buckets, fixed and variable. The variable bucket lost 25% or so in the 2008 meltdown, so in my dad's case. the variable payout amount of his pension went down 25%. It is reset each year. He grumbled but he only has 50% in variable. Mom has always been 100% in fixed so she didn't complain.........
To me, that's the best way for a couple to work it. One spouse goes for higher pay and growth potential but with less job security and a 401K-based retirement, and the other takes the secure job, benefits and a pension. You get both the high potential of the market and the private sector together with the security of government work under one roof.
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