Thursday, March 1, 2012

Test Based Teacher Evaluations Released in NYC

New York City has released evaluation numbers based on student test scores for city teachers. The teachers union has argued that personnel information should be protected from publication and when the evaluation was first begun, then chancellor Joel Klein promised that, because the procedure was "experimental," it would be held in strict confidence. The administration, however, has reneged on that promise and has released the information.

Last week the newspapers in New York City published the results on tens of thousands of teachers.

Testing experts know that using student test scores to evaluate teachers is neither valid nor reliable. Diane Ravitch wrote in How to Demoralize Teachers,
Most testing experts believe that value-added assessment has many technical problems that reduce its validity and reliability. The most recent research review appears in the current issue of the Phi Delta Kappan. Unfortunately, advocates of measuring teacher quality by student test scores never let research or evidence or, in New York City's case, unequivocal commitments to privacy, get in their way.
The backlash against teachers has begun. Here's the story of one NY teacher who was the subject of misinformation, harassment and personal humiliation.

The True Story of Pascale Mauclair
As in many other cases, the story of Pascale Mauclair and P.S. 11 begins with a tale of the flawed methodology and invalid measurements of the Teacher Data Reports.

P.S. 11 is located at the epicenter of a number of different immigrant communities in northern Queens, and over a quarter of its students are English Language Learners. Mauclair is an ESL teacher, and over the last five years she has had small, self-contained classes of recently arrived immigrants who do not speak English. Her students arrive at different times of the school year, depending upon that date of their family’s migration; consequently, it is not unusual for her students to take the 6th grade exams when they have only been in her class for a matter of a few months. Two factors which produce particularly contorted TDR results – teaching the highest academic need students and having a small sample of students that take the standardized state exams – define her teaching situation.

If a journalist with integrity had examined the TDR data, a number of red flags which suggested something was seriously amiss with the scores for Mauclair and P.S. 11 would have presented themselves.
Read the complete story here.
More on the New York City teacher evaluations here and here.

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