professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Murkier and murkier

Yesterday I referred to an article in Ed Week by Charlotte Danielson which indicated that as many as 6% of our teachers are "bad." Imagine my surprise today when I saw an op-ed piece in HuffPost asking who in the world this person is: And here we go again. Someone (Danielson) is speaking as an expert, and yet we do not seem to know her credentials as an educator. Yet, there are schools across the country using her company's rubric for evaluating teachers. She is, obviously, skilled as a marketer.

"Unfortunately, nobody, not the Times, the New York State Education Department, the New York City Department of Education, nor the teachers’ union have demonstrated any positive correlation between teacher assessments based on the Danielson rubrics, good teaching, and the implementation of new higher academic standards for students under Common Core."

Sigh. You can look at the web site for this company: Most of this looks like what I learned in my ed prep program more than 40 years ago. I will admit that I was not a pro in all of these areas until I actually had my own classroom and some elbow room to be autonomous. Many of the same pieces of the rubric were part of the appraisal system used to evaluate my teaching (and still are components at the university level). But I still am having trouble wrapping my head around measurement. I would love to see much more detail.

For instance, one of the domains talks about using assessment in instruction. What does assessment look like? In my online classroom, assessment occurs when students complete an assignment. That assignment asks them to apply their learning to something new (I hope that makes sense). Assessment NEVER looks like a test in my classes. It never will. So, would I pass this aspect? What outcomes are acceptable? How is managing behavior measured? I have more and more questions the more I read.

And, of course, I am obsessed with assessment right now because this is the time each semester when my students evaluate me using an online form. It is one that is not used by any other LS program anywhere, and yet somehow it is supposed to be an effective measure of my teaching. I received notice today that less than 30% of my students have completed the form. I hate to let the folks in charge know, but this is the end of the semester, and my students are trying to finish up their final assignments. They might or might not get around to the form. It is not a priority for them. It only becomes a priority when they see what their final grade appears to be. Correlation, I wonder?

I learn more about my teaching and my student learning from their own work. Sometimes, it becomes apparent to me that I have not made something abundantly clear. And sometimes it becomes apparent that sometimes I need to tweak or change or delete or add. Does this make me a "bad" teacher for not making something totally clear or a "good" teacher for being aware that there is a problem? I guess it depends on whose rubric we use.

Here is my favorite number for today, though. I have read 7 picture books so far. 7 X 32 = 224 pages! This is a number I can be pleased with, happy about. Maybe it is time to bmp up that number and take another picture book break?
Tags: credentials, numbers, reformy people, rubrics
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