Proposal would link teacher evaluatio...

Proposal would link teacher evaluations to MCAS results - Sentinel & Enterprise

There are 13 comments on the Sentinel & Enterprise story from Dec 22, 2010, titled Proposal would link teacher evaluations to MCAS results - Sentinel & Enterprise. In it, Sentinel & Enterprise reports that:

The Massachusetts Teachers Association, the state's largest teachers' union, announced it wants to reinvent its evaluation methods on several levels according to a proposal released on Tuesday.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Sentinel & Enterprise.

Former Fitchburg Educator

Ashburnham, MA

#1 Dec 22, 2010
One of the new proposed methods would be analyzing student's MCAS scores in order to determine if a teacher deserves a promotion or if they should be fired
How exactly would a teacher be "promoted"?
Often times the best teachers in a district are given the most challenging students. Should these teachers be fired or "demoted" because their students don't perform comparably with other classrooms?
Harvard Guy

Gardner, MA

#2 Dec 22, 2010
Former Fitchburg Educator wrote:
One of the new proposed methods would be analyzing student's MCAS scores in order to determine if a teacher deserves a promotion or if they should be fired
How exactly would a teacher be "promoted"?
Often times the best teachers in a district are given the most challenging students. Should these teachers be fired or "demoted" because their students don't perform comparably with other classrooms?
This argument is so lame and so darn old. If the teaching community is as smart and educated as they keep telling us to justify higher incomes, they should be able to figure out how to measure performance of both students and instructors in all categories. Christ, we can put a man on the moon for God's sake. I'm not so sure the unions really wnat it to happen.
Just Facts

United States

#3 Dec 22, 2010
If this is handled properly, the general public will finally see some accountability come to the classroom. If this is handled improperly, we may lose good teachers. The MCAS has become a part of reality for the public schools and should be used ONLY as one of several factors in determining the effectiveness of a teacher.

It is too bad there isn't something available to measure the effectiveness of the administrators too. many times the administrators are the issue, not the teachers.
JIm

Fitchburg, MA

#4 Dec 22, 2010
This is a great idea, the MCAS tests have already proven to be a failure, so lets push the students even further away from learning by making it more profitable for the teachers.
Poppycock

Worcester, MA

#5 Dec 22, 2010
Does anyone REALLY think that a collective bargaining unit is actually going to allow its membership to receive pay and bonuses based upon any subjective or objective measurement of performance?

I didn't think so.

Sadly, teachers get a bad wrap when you have parents who take no active interest in their child's actual education. They are more concerned with their child doing 8 different activities during the week instead of actually learning, educating, and improving themselves.
Former Fitchburg Educator

Ashburnham, MA

#6 Dec 22, 2010
Harvard Guy,
The issue is not finding a way to measure student and teacher performance, as we have many tools to do that already. The issue is linking 1 single test taken on 1 single day to a teacher's overall yearly performance. MCAS results alone do not measure all a child has learned over the course of a year.
Comical

Leominster, MA

#7 Dec 22, 2010
I like the idea of having the teachers govern themselves on performance. Lets be honest, the numbers will be skewered and those with "freinds" won't worry. The union is sooooo corrupt. Why not have a third party evaluate the teachers? There is no honesty left.
In Leominstah

Clinton, MA

#8 Dec 22, 2010
it's amazing to me how those who are clearly not teachers are so inclined to make comments about how they should be "promoted" or "demoted" according to a stupid test. MCAS is a joke. Even the MTEL to become a teacher is a joke. I agree with Former Fitchburg Educator's comment that 1 test on 1 day should not be the dictating factor of a teacher's performance. I am not a teacher. I do give teacher's a lot of credit. How would you like to be in a classroom with 20+ kids for 6 hours a day, 180 days a year? Yes- that's their job and that's what they signed up for but until you've walked in their shoes you have no right to judge or decide how they should be evaluated.
Larry Turnip

Princeton, MA

#9 Dec 22, 2010
We've discussed the concept of "merit pay" for teachers a couple times now. Poppycock is correct, the union wouldn't allow a teacher's pay to be based on any merit measures of performance.

Several of you are also correct that basing teacher performance solely on MCAS tests is the wrong thing to do. Think of it this way. What if our senators and representatives were re-elected or not based on whether certain bill/programs actually met the intended goals? It doesn't happen that often, they get re-elected over and over and over again anyway.

However, a merit program developed by both school administration and individual teachers would give a much better measure of a TEACHER's performance, not 'solely' based on a student or students performance. It would have individual goals and measurements for each teacher and those may be different between teachers in a school.

For example, merit goals and measurements for elementary teachers may be quite different than middle school teachers and maybe more so for high school teachers. Not to say that teaching in one grade is easier or harder than another grade, but there are differences. A teacher of high school math may have differences from a chemistry teacher, or a phys. ed. teacher. Grade 1 teachers have differences from ninth grade teachers.

Maybe merit measurements won't be used for pay/bonuses, but the setting of teacher goals and measurements can be very beneficial to both teachers and students. It is being done in other school systems in the country, and includes pay/bonus provisions.
Harvard Guy

Gardner, MA

#10 Dec 22, 2010
Former Fitchburg Educator wrote:
Harvard Guy,
The issue is not finding a way to measure student and teacher performance, as we have many tools to do that already. The issue is linking 1 single test taken on 1 single day to a teacher's overall yearly performance. MCAS results alone do not measure all a child has learned over the course of a year.
Read my post. I never said what you are implying. What I said was that if the educational community was as smart as they think they are they could find a way to measure each individual teacher based on his or her student group. I never supported measurement based on an MCAS test or any other specific test. As a "Former Fitchburg Educator" you should have been able to decern from my post that I support measurement based on individual growth targets for both teachers and students. My primary concern over the years is that both teachers groups and unions do not seem to support any action that would enable the taxpayers to measure their performance or "pay premiums" for excellence. My concern in this area is also applicable to all public sector jobs.
fed up

Leominster, MA

#11 Dec 22, 2010
You guys are missing the major component here. They say that MCAS is 1 student, 1 test, 1 moment in time but for that student if they don't pass they don't graduate. The teachers and administrators keep their jobs, still get raises and the child can't go to college, join the armed forces or get a job. If the stakes are so high for the child then the same should be for the people in charge of teaching that child to pass that this 1 test in 1 moment of time. The child has a lot more to lose than the teacher or administrator.
Harvard Guy

Gardner, MA

#12 Dec 22, 2010
"Fed Up". Generally speaking I agree with you conceptually. Please get off the MCAS test issue and discuss teacher and student measurement in general. My concern over the years is measuring teacher/student performance and the resistance the unions and teacher associations have mounted against that concept. In order to improve our global competitive edge we need to "manage" this area better.
Former Fitchburg Educator

Ashburnham, MA

#13 Dec 23, 2010
Paul Toner clarifies his endorsement on the MTA website. As usual Sentinel and Glob leave out important facts and make misleading statements.
Harvard Guy will like this I think. Evaluations from school district to school district can be DRASTICALLY different, and should be standardized. Some districts simply have SATISFACTORY/UNSATISFACTORY ratings and teachers receive no useful feedback. Check out what is being recommended.

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