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What, exactly, is the problem with judging teacher performance by student performance?

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on July 28, 2009 at 10:00 am |
July 28, 2009 10:00 am

“Bob,” below, made this snarky comment (below) on our Tuesday editorial about missing out on federal grants to states that lead in school reforms.


Bob’s point (as I understand it) is a good one: How can you fairly use student performance to evaluate teachers when there are such wide disparities in students – some wealthy and well-prepared, some disadvantaged, etc.?


I have always understood that the data would be used to measure what the teacher is doing with his or her own students – i.e., how much did a particular class learn relative to where it started out, not relative to how well students were doing elsewhere.


Am I wrong? If not, I fail to understand the unions’ opposition to the use of student performance data.


Anyway, here’s Bob, speaking for himself:


Bob (coldone)


“…A state must connect data on student performance to individual teachers. The logic for this is blindingly obvious: The data connection can not only help evaluate teachers, it can help evaluate the curriculum they use, the schools of education that trained them and the effectiveness of their principals…”


Fantastic idea. Finally someone has it right.


We’ll collect data on the student performance of a school full of gang bangers to their teachers and also collect data on the student performance of the sons and daughters schools of doctors, lawyers, rocket scientists, etc. to their teachers.


We’ll throw it in a database and all the worlds problems will be solved.


Maybe I missed that course in college where they throw apples and oranges in a blender and come up with honey?


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