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November 29, 2012
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News for the Education Profession

ASCD Special Report:
Teacher Evaluation
Teacher evaluation is one of the most talked about areas of education today. This ASCD Special Report takes a closer look at teacher evaluation: What should be included in a teacher-evaluation system? Are value-added measures the only way to go? What's the latest news on teacher training and coaching? What is a teacher-leader? What changes are taking place in states?

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  Grading Teachers 
  • Are value-added measures prone to inaccuracy?
    Value-added measures do not necessarily give a full picture of a teacher's effectiveness, write Bryan Goodwin and Kirsten Miller, citing the case of a highly regarded teacher who faced ridicule after being publicly identified as New York City's "worst teacher." Among the pitfalls of value-added measures are that data may be inaccurate, students' previous teachers may skew the results and year-to-year ratings may vary widely. The authors warn against embracing value-added measures without considering other components of teacher evaluation. Educational Leadership (11/2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Report: States face challenges in adopting changes
    In six states that were early adopters of teacher-evaluation changes, some are struggling to support those alterations, according to a report from the Center for American Progress. The study of efforts in Colorado, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Tennessee found that common challenges include a lack of funds and differences in how the evaluators are trained. States also are struggling to evaluate teachers who do not teach subjects covered by state exams. The Huffington Post (11/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • What to consider when enacting value-added systems
    Value-added measures, however controversial, are a reality for many districts, so it is important to take care when designing and enacting the system, writes Matthew Di Carlo, a senior fellow at the Albert Shanker Institute in Washington, D.C. Di Carlo's recommendations include aiming for a lower weight, such as 10% to 20%, rather than 35% to 50% for the overall evaluation score. He also writes that all aspects of the evaluation should be considered, errors should be confronted and there should be a system for examining the evaluations themselves. Educational Leadership (11/2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
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  Spotlight on Development 
  • Coaching, not assessments, builds great teachers
    Developing teachers requires coaching on specific concrete actions that will improve results, writes author and school administrator Paul Bambrick-Santoyo. He gives examples of how practicing skills helps teachers in the classroom. "Conventional teacher feedback and evaluation is based on a flawed assumption: that accurate measurement of teaching is the central goal of teacher evaluation," Bambrick-Santoyo writes. Educational Leadership (11/2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Pa. school incorporates co-teaching, collaboration
    A school in Pittsburgh that enrolls students in elementary and middle grades strives to allow teachers to collaborate and learn from one another. Officials say the evaluation system, Research-Based Inclusive System of Evaluation, helps to foster the collaborative spirit as it places an emphasis on teachers' professional growth. At the school, teachers take responsibility for the learning of all students and implement successful teaching techniques used by their colleagues. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (10/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Why teacher coaching brings higher achievement
    Coaching has an unmatched power to improve teaching and learning, instructional coach David Ginsburg writes in this blog post. Teacher coaching, he notes -- more so than test preparation -- will have the greatest effect on student achievement. He offers anecdotes from schools that have adopted teacher coaching and reported higher levels of student achievement and learning. Education Week Teacher/Coach G's Teaching Tips (10/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
In the Becoming a Reflective Teacher Workshop, you'll learn why classroom autonomy and collaboration go hand in hand. After being introduced to a large range of instructional strategies, you'll perform a self-assessment, design your own growth plan, and determine how to set and meet mutual teacher goals. Register now!
  Support and Training 
  • School's environment is a key factor in achievement
    Successful turnarounds of struggling high schools hinge on fostering environments where teachers and students are supported, and parents and community members are engaged, suggests Charles Payne, a University of Chicago professor and affiliate of the university's Urban Education Institute. "You can create all the pockets of good instruction you want, [but] if the organizational environment doesn't support [the change], it is likely to destroy it," he said. Culture change requires a combination of teacher collaboration, community connections, rigorous instruction, supportive leadership and safe environment, he said. U.S. News & World Report/High School Notes (11/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Teachers need evaluation systems that seek improvement
    Schools need a teacher-evaluation system that goes beyond measuring teacher effectiveness, but actually improves it, write Wisconsin educators Paul Mielke and Tony Frontier. The system should look to build expertise in teachers, even the best of whom will seek and strive for further practice, they write. "As a profession, we need to transcend the idea that only teachers who are struggling need an improvement plan. If the school views the need for improvement as a liability, why would teachers ever acknowledge their need for deliberate practice?" Educational Leadership (11/2012) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • States consider stepping up teacher-education programs
    Officials in 20 states are considering modeling their teacher-education programs after a rigorous one adopted in Tennessee. Under the model, teacher candidates are required to pass an evaluation, called edTPA, which is similar to the national boards. "It's sometimes called the junior national board because it requires high-level thinking, analyzing, synthesizing. You must truly demonstrate you have the knowledge and skills to be an effective teacher," said Jennifer Nelson, of the University of Memphis. The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.) (free registration) (11/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
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  ASCD Resources 

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