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Dr. Andrew Dyke is a Senior Economist at ECONorthwest. He specializes in program evaluation and applied microeconomic analysis. He develops and applies sophisticated econometric models for many policy areas, including crime, education and labor economics. His recent project work includes student achievement growth modeling for Chalkboard Project’s federally funded Teacher Incentive Fund grant, an evaluation of Oregon’s Employer Workforce Training Fund, and regional economic modeling for TriMet and the Puget Sound Regional Council.
We all know this: Improving education to promote student outcomes—academic, social, and otherwise—is hard work, and it requires risk-taking and experimentation to succeed. Unfortunately, it’s also all too easy for individuals—educators and researchers, alike—to assume that they have found the magic bullet, if only everyone would sit up and listen… As a result, the “next big thing” often gets oversold as proven technology, implemented too quickly, and frequently discarded before the final results are in. Good ideas as well as bad can suffer the same fate. (more…)
Kathleen Sundell is President of the Salem-Keizer Education Association. She has been a special educator for 38 years. Kathleen received her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and two master’s degrees from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has been an advocate through her career and has worked to foster collaborative relationships. Kathleen has been at the forefront of the education reform effort in Salem-Keizer, chairing its Performance Evaluation Committee, which, through collaboration among teachers, administrators and central office personnel, redesigned the evaluation system for 2200 Salem Keizer educators.
As I sit next to my companion on our way to a conference, I think about how far I’ve come. You see, I am the President of the one of the largest Teacher’s Association/Union local in the state, my companion is our District Superintendent, Dr. Sandra Husk, and the conference is a joint labor-management conference. We will join our school board chair and share with districts from all over the nation how we collaborate around District and Association issues big and small. Little did I know, fifteen years ago, that this special education teacher from small town Iowa would be leading her colleagues in education reform.
How did we get here? Dr. Husk introduced us to the CLASS (Creative Leadership Achieves Student Success) Project. We were skeptical at first, and unsure about what it was and why we would sign on. But as we talked, we realized that our educators wanted different career opportunities without leaving the classroom; our professional development system, while improved, still needed work; and, we needed a new evaluation system since ours hadn’t been updated since 1983. What CLASS funding brought us most was time and expertise. The grant gave us time for collaboration, and guidance from our CLASS coach, Chalkboard staff, and experts that they brought in from all over the country. Also, time to talk about issues important to educators. (more…)
The US Department of Education has put out the draft priorities for the next round of the Teacher Incentive Fund and invited public feedback. The Teacher Incentive Fund provides grant dollars to school districts and partners that want to explore ways to recognize and reward effective teaching. More about TIF and the proposed priorities can be found here.
We have learned quite a bit from being part of a Teacher Incentive Fund grant along with six Oregon school districts. You can read our full feedback letter to the USDOE here. Here are the highlights:
Evaluations: Require a minimum of four, not three, categories for teaching proficiency
In the proposed selection criteria, the Department requires a Rigorous, Valid, and Reliable Educator Evaluation System that includes at least three performance levels. However, advice from respected national leaders, including Charlotte Danielson, indicates that a three-level proficiency system leads to “central tendency,” or the notion that most professionals will end up in the middle category because it is safer to mark and easier to defend. This provides less differentiation for informed practice and limits the distinctions needed for improvement. Additionally, we note that every respected national model has a minimum of four levels. We are not aware of any respected, research-based rubrics for teaching proficiency based upon a three level framework.
This article was originally published by the
Statesman Journal on March 14, 2012 and can be found here.
With the controversy surrounding value-added models, including the recent release of teacher rankings in New York, it could be easy to give up on the models altogether as too controversial, unreliable or volatile.
WHAT IS A ‘VALUE-ADDED MODEL’ AND HOW IS ‘VAM’ BEING USED IN OREGON?
We are continuing our webinar series with a conversation about value-added models–a complex statistical tool for measuring student growth. The discussion will include an explanation of what VAM is, how it is different than other measures of school performance, and a bit of national and local context around how it is being used in education.
Each of these virtual brown bags are designed to provide you with relevant news about education issues and to hear first-hand accounts of ongoing developments from local, state and national policy experts and educators.
JOIN US FOR THIS CONVERSATION.
TOPIC: What is a value-added model?
WHEN: Wednesday, February 22, 12:00 PM- 1:00 PM
WHERE: Join us online at http://bit.ly/yFz1V4
T.J. Chandler is the founder of EdZapp, Oregon’s statewide online employment application, and is now the Regional Director of Operations for Netchemia, LLC working with K-12 teacher and administrator evaluations. T.J. was formerly the Director of Business Applications for the New York City Board of Education, and has worked with over one hundred school districts across the country on operational and human capital issues. T.J. holds degrees from Willamette University and Princeton University.
As some celebrate the 10th anniversary of NCLB and others curse it, I ask, “What have we learned from it?” In particular, I am intrigued by certain parallels between evaluating “student achievement” and “teacher performance.”
Like the discussions 10-15 years ago about students “falling behind” and “dropping out,” policy-makers realize that there is a problem with teacher effectiveness and attrition. The tough part for both problems, of course, is specifying–in meaningful and legally-defensible terms–which individuals are having trouble, and even more importantly how to help them improve.
The goal of determining how much a teacher or school contributes to student academic achievement growth is a complicated and difficult aspiration. Under ideal conditions, reasonable estimates can be theoretically determined. But, the real world is far from ideal and the risk of classification errors is high.
A classification error occurs when a student, teacher or school is incorrectly assigned to a performance category. For instance, a school may be labeled as exceeding expectations for achievement growth, when, in reality, it only meets expectations – or vice versa.
Since many decisions ranging from public disclosures to employee compensation are at stake, we need to pursue the best VAM available and fully explain the level of uncertainty that goes with each rating. And if the uncertainty is too great, decisions should be deferred.