Candidate Forum: Evaluating Educators

Written by: Kristin Trible

Evaluating Educators. MCPS has gone its own way in Maryland on teacher evaluation.  It did not participate in the Race to the Top (RttT) grant that would have given MCPS funds in exchange for implementing a test-based teacher evaluation system.  Now, the state superintendent may require MCPS to adopt MSDE’s requirement that 50% of a teachers’ evaluation be determined by test scores. Would you support MCPS standing its ground or should it become more aligned with the state’s approach?  Would you support the new proposal in MCPS to have student, teacher and principal feedback as part of teacher, principal and associate superintendent evaluation, respectively?

Response: I do not support using student test scores as a percentage of teachers’ evaluations.  Too many factors play a role for student test scores to be a valid indicator of a teacher’s performance.  That said, principals should review test scores with teachers to identify trends, set goals, etc.  Test scores are a tool for understanding what our students have learned; they do not necessarily indicate what our teachers have taught.

For years I have supported student surveys to provide “customer” feedback to teachers.  Students are able to identify effective teachers, especially when the right survey instruments are used.  To take it a step further, 360 degree assessments should be embraced by MCPS as well.  These 360 degree assessments (which include peer as well as student and principal evaluations) are easily administered and valuable to staff members and their supervisors.  It is critical to have this type of data when evaluating teachers and ALL administrators within MCPS.

2 Responses to Candidate Forum: Evaluating Educators

  1. CrunchyMama says:

    Thanks for your response; as a parent and (now-former) MCPS teacher, I’ll be following these responses with great interest.

    At what age/grade would you begin to have student feedback be used? Obviously there would be a big difference between the information you could get from a 1st-grader and a middle schooler.

  2. With the write survey instrument and developmentally appropriate questions, great feedback can be obtained from a kindergartner. While I’m not a survey expert, the questions should be framed around what is occurring in the classroom, not about whether they like the teacher. Students can be quite perceptive, as I’m sure you found as a teacher. This is a tool to help teachers understand what works (or doesn’t) in the classroom.

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