Grading teachers | Arkansas Blog

Grading teachers

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John Brummett weighs in against Los Angeles teachers unhappy about a ranking of teachers based on test scores of their students over a period of years. The ranking in theory is based on how well teachers advance each student over the course of a year, thus supposedly leveling differences that, say, background might cause.

The movement will be sweeping the country. In many states, including Arkansas, the law would likely have to be changed to permit public release of the data if it is compiled. Records of performance for ALL public employees in Arkansas — firefighters, police, medical personnel, janitors, whoever — are sealed unless an employee is suspended or fired.

The LA Times reports
in some depth today on the ongoing controversy, led by the endorsement of release of the information by Obama's Education secretary, Arne Duncan, who's due in Little Rock for a lecture Aug. 25.

Warning: So-called value-added measurement of students' performance, and, by implication, teachers' effectiveness, is a Tennessee invention and it's been the subject of a tremendous amount of scholarly research and commentary since it was implemented. It seems real simple. If students in one teacher's class progress farther than student's in another teacher's class, one must be more effective than the other, right? Believe it or not, some people who study this kind of stuff for a living say it's a little more complicated than that. Here's just one summary of educational research that illustrates.

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