Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rating Teachers: What VOSD Members Think

Rating Teachers: What VOSD Members Think
Updated: Jul 5, 2011
by Grant Barrett

In the last year, a national debate over whether there's a better way to judge teachers has exploded. The Obama administration has pushed schools to use what's known as "value-added data" to evaluate teachers and decide their pay.

A Los Angeles Times investigation last year pushed the issue out of academia and into the mainstream, inspiring strong backlash and fevered discussion.

The idea is simple: Measure how much each child improves over time, instead of simply how high they score.

It is a powerful way to examine the impact of educators and schools, proponents argue, because it strips away kids' inherent advantages and disadvantages.

The idea is also deeply controversial. Statisticians debate whether it is technically possible to tease out how a teacher impacts a student from a multitude of other factors. Teacher unions say tests are a shoddy way to measure teaching in the first place.

San Diego Unified has turned away from Obama's plan and panned the idea of using the data to rate teachers. It has embraced a softer touch: using similar information to study what gets good results.

Last week we surveyed our members (those who have donated to support to ask them:

How should schools use "value-added data" to measure teacher performance?

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