Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Effective Teacher" as Defined By the Obama Dept of Ed

The proposal for allocating Race to the Top Funds is worth reading for its insights into how educational policy in the Obama administration is evolving. There is much discussion of "effective teachers and principals" and the use of "effectiveness information" for granting tenure and dismissing teachers is suggested. But what do these words mean? Fortunately, there is a list of definitions at the end of the document (use the pdf -- it's the easiest to read)

First, the "effective teacher":
Effective teacher means a teacher
whose students achieve acceptable rates
(e.g., at least one grade level in an
academic year) of student growth (as
defined in this notice). States may
supplement this definition as they see
fit so long as teacher effectiveness is
judged, in significant measure, by
student growth (as defined in this
What then, is "student growth". Also in the definitions section:
Student growth means the change in
achievement data for an individual
student between two points in time.
Growth may be measured by a variety of
approaches, but any approach used
must be statistically rigorous and based
on student achievement (as defined in
this notice) data, and may also include
other measures of student learning in
order to increase the construct validity
and generalizability of the information.
Of course, "student achievement". That's what we're all after. But not surprisingly it's nothing more than our old friends, the ELA and Math tests.
Student achievement means, at a
(a) For tested grades and subjects: A
student’s score on the State’s assessment
under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA;
(b) For non-tested grades and subjects:

Is that all there is?

Comments are being taken on the Race to the Top Fund proposal through August 29th. Cliick here for the comment form.