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Old 12-23-2011, 11:15 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
22,308 posts, read 17,066,443 times
Reputation: 11754

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ringo1 View Post
Well, welcome to the way the rest of the world is evaluated. Perhaps not quite that simplistic - but yes, your immediate supervisor, has a fairly big impact on your evaluation. It is good if there is some personal rapport but hopefully your supervisor (in your case the principal) would attend at least 4 of your classes (as someone else said) and be able to offer some kind of coaching and feedback with some type of objective goals.

I'm not in your profession (I have my own) so I would not be able to list all those goals for you.

I don't think that teachers are the ONE group in society that simply cannot be evaluated. I think they just don't want to be.

I think there is something to be said for merit pay and quality of performance. What is your incentive to be an outstanding teacher if you get the same raise, the same increase, as the teacher next door who does next to nothing?

Some folks are very self-driven to continually improve and push themselves for the better and some are not.
I'm fully aware of the way the rest of the world is evaluated. If you recall, I spent over 20 years in industry. This is much more simplistic than industry. In industry, my boss' evaluation depended on the quality of the people below him so actual ability came first in evaluations. Yes, there was some prefferential treatment but ability topped the list when we were evaluated. In teaching, it IS the list. As I've said, over and over and over, my "performance" review is based on two snapshots of my teaching ability per year. My boss doesn't have a clue as to how good/bad I really am. He doesn't spend enough time in my classroom to know that. What he knows is that parents complain about me because their children don't get easy A's or they are failing my class (the ONLY way to fail my class is to not do the work. I'm a tough A but my class is easy to pass.) He knows that I got this job over his friend. He knows the students aren't happy with me (I've had several old students seek me out to tell me that I really helped them get ready for college , but they don't like me when they have me. I'm hard.) This is MUCH, MUCH more political.

I figure with the old vice principal gone and me not being an easy A (from what I hear, the guy my principal would prefer be in my classroom is an easy A. (What I hear is he's a Bill Nye the Science guy fun teacher. I hear he does things like give the students sodium to play with....(I really hope that is NOT true)... I know he gives easy tests because I replaced him in my previous job and I rewrote those tests...(you know the job where test scores jumped 57% when I was there....)) I have about 1 chance in a hundred of actually tenuring in 4 years. He'll find some reason to get rid of me before then. The other teachers couldn't believe I got my hand slapped for calling on a student. They tell me they use this tactic all the time with students who are not paying attention. I also got my hand slapped for allowing students to stay after class to finish tests, a practice other teachers also do all the time. He's setting me up and I know it. If not next year, the year after, I'll be out and someone else will be in....gee, I wonder who that will be??? You get three guesses and the first two don't count....

If I'm going to keep this job, I either have to get the kids and parents to like me and demand I stay or I need a new principal... I'm going back into industry where I have some actual control over my PR. One thing I liked about the way PR's were done where I used to work is that we were ranked. That made it very hard to favor someone you just liked. Unlike teaching, in industry, we all watched each other work all the time so we knew where we stood before we ever walked into that PR meeting. My supervisor's evaluation of me couldn't be too far off or I'd call foul. Our evaluations were also defended before a panel. Once, when I was passed over for a promotion, one of the other supervisors came to me and told me it was only because one of the other engineer's wife was pregnant and several members of the panel thought he needed it more. He said he would deny ever telling me that if I went to HR but he thought I should know that I was the number 1 candidate. It was decided I'd get the next promotion and I did along with a 12% raise!! Apparently, my manager felt guilty about something...gee I wonder what that was???

Another thing about industry is that my boss wasn't the only one in position to do my evaluation. Other managers were sizing us up too trying to decide who to steal. Surrounding themselves with capable people helped our managers get ahead. I'm still kind of taken aback by the fact I ever worked for the last department I did. My manager was well known for choosing only the best. That job was the only time in my life that I ever felt, and rightfully so, that I was middle of the pack. Unfortunately, the company did not consider such things when the decision was made that every department would reduce head counts by 10%. That resulted in some, highly qualified people being let go while some mediocre workers stayed. It just depended on the mix of your department and where you fell in the ranking. In my old department, dead last was good because so many people there were just stellar.

Last edited by Ivorytickler; 12-23-2011 at 11:48 PM..
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Old 12-23-2011, 11:42 PM
 
2,175 posts, read 2,225,412 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by user_id View Post
Sure, there is actually plenty of research on this topic all with similar results, namely that high school students are able to effectively evaluate teacher performance:

"Finds that high school student evaluations are very comparable to the more "expert" evaluation. Supports the use of student evaluations for the student teacher evaluation process. (MG)"

High School Student Evaluation of Student Teachers: How Do They Compare with Professionals?

I think the fact that all the disagreement is coming from teachers and not educational researchers is very telling, to say it again, the teaching environment in the US is very authoritarian.
It helps if the research you link connects to the arguments you are making. Evaluation of teachers is very different from evaluation of student teachers, in whom the students have a far less vested interest, as the student teachers will not be back the following term/year.

ERIC - Education Resources Information Center suggests that different fields of study produce different student evaluations of faculty at the collegiate level. This means that the same quality of teaching would not be given the same level of "merit" by the students. A similar study has not been done at the pre-collegiate level that I am aware of.

From http://www.ctu.edu.vn/centers/cfl/teaching/ebooks/26.pdf: (broken link)
Comm and Mathaisel (1998) observed that in some industries, subordinates are used to evaluate their bosses but never as the only measure of supervisor effectiveness. Typically, this is used as the least weighted of several methods to ascertain the administrative ability of the manager.
...
Abrami et al. (1982)
suggest that instructional ratings should not
be used in decision making about faculty
promotion and tenure, because charismatic
and enthusiastic faculty can receive favorable
student ratings regardless of how well they
know their subject matter. Further, these
instructor attributes were not related to how
much their students learned.

A meta-analysis of a dozen of these studies
revealed ‘‘instructor expressiveness had a
substantial impact on student ratings, but a
small impact on student achievement’’
(Abrami et al., 1982). Feldman (1986) found
when the assessment is based on the
perceptions of students or colleagues, the
overall relationship of instructor personality
to student ratings is substantial, with positive
correlations ranging from moderate to high.
Now, I am very conscious of the fact that these pieces of research, too, are slightly off from the main topic, as they are looking at evaluation of college instructors. But when one considers that college students are ostensibly more mature than high school students (let alone middle school), that this problem occurs at the higher education and age level should give one pause before having it serve as the basis for teacher assessment with the younger crowd of students!

For the sake of balance, this paper, while not all that recent, does a very nice job of both summarizing the issue and presenting evidence that supports the practice of college students' rating (not evaluating, per the author) their instructors: http://www.theideacenter.org/sites/d...a_Paper_32.pdf

But... Kulik, whose work I consistently love no matter what part of education's being addressed, sums up the core of the problem in this paper: http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstr...05/1/1_ftp.pdf
To say that student ratings are valid is to say that they reflect teaching effectiveness. It would therefore seem to be a straightforward matter to assess the validity of student ratings. All we have to do is to correlate student ratings with teaching effectiveness scores. If ratings are valid, students will give good ratings to effective teachers and poor ratings to ineffective ones. The size of the correlation between ratings and effectiveness will provide a precise index of the validity of student ratings.

The catch is that no one knows what measure to use as the criterion of teaching effectiveness. Researchers have long searched for the perfect criterion. Among the criteria that they have examined are measures of student learning, alumni judgments of teachers, and classroom observations by experts. But the search has proved futile because each of these criteria is far from perfect.
So... high school.

At the college level, no gender bias was found in the ratings of faculty. Not so in high school: Gender bias found in student ratings of high school science teachers
A study of 18,000 biology, chemistry and physics students has uncovered notable gender bias in student ratings of high school science teachers.
That is not an insubstantial number of students!

Kathleen Monks, in her 2001 dissertation, found that learning disabled students ranked their teachers lower in teacher effectiveness, when compared with the general education students' ratings.

More recently, John Roe found that when ratings were done, relative to a self-evaluation, had an impact on their ratings of the teachers - if they evaluated their own commitment prior to rating rapport with teachers, they reported a higher report than if the teacher rating took place first.
************

This is totally consistent with questionnaire design theory - external events, order of questions, and a host of other factors play hob with results even without getting into discipline, gender, and personality biases!

So, no... it is not just teachers who have a hard time with the student evaluations - there are plenty of researchers with plenty of issues with it.

Let me know if you want more!
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Old 12-23-2011, 11:44 PM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
12,351 posts, read 10,681,360 times
Reputation: 4075
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
I
If I'm going to keep this job, I either have to get the kids and parents to like me and demand I stay or I need a new principal... I'm going back into industry where I have some actual control over my PR. One thing I liked about the way PR's were done where I used to work is that we were ranked. That made it very hard to favor someone you just liked. Unlike teaching, in industry, we all watched each other work all the time so we knew where we stood before we ever walked into that PR meeting. My supervisor's evaluation of me couldn't be too far off or I'd call foul. Our evaluations were also defended before a panel. Once, when I was passed over for a promotion, one of the other supervisors came to me and told me it was only because one of the other engineer's wife was pregnant and several members of the panel thought he needed it more. He said he would deny ever telling me that if I went to HR but he thought I should know that I was the number 1 candidate. It was decided I'd get the next promotion and I did along with a 12% raise!! Apparently, my manager felt guilty about something...gee I wonder what that was???
You realize you're given an argument for merit based pay in education right? You are stating why the merit based system in private industry is better than the non-merit based system you are experiencing as a teacher...... The whole idea here is to make schools function, structurally, more like a business.

I mean, why do you keep giving examples from your experience when you're in a school that isn't using a merit system?
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Old 12-23-2011, 11:49 PM
 
2,175 posts, read 2,225,412 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by user_id View Post
Okay....so should we just stop paying teachers? Or maybe we could pick numbers out of hat to determine their pay?

You have to determine teacher pay with some method....so why not use a method that is actually has some relation to the labor market?

Its funny how much teachers complain about merit based pay when that is how pay is determined pretty much everywhere. Why would primary and secondary teachers in public schools be the exception?

When it comes to merit based pay teachers usually have something very naive in mind, namely that some guy is going to assign them a salary based on how much he likes them.... But that isn't how any serious merit system works and there is tons of literature on this topic to aid educators in building an effective pay system.
Have to pay them enough to live on. Some (see another poster's comments) need to feel paid "what they are worth" while others don't.

But your suggestion of using "a method that is actually has some relation to the labor market" is roughly the same as the suggestions that we do that with our evaluation of our students - NCBL - and it just does not work.

Comparing teachers to therapists might give you a more reasonable parallel than comparing teachers to business people. "Pretty much everywhere" has a product. Teachers do not have a product and so long as we keep pretending they do, we will keep having graduates who are not as ready to move ahead as we would like.

There "is tons" of literature on the topic.

It just happens to be filled with disagreements, contradictions, and zero conclusions. Honest! This issue is important to me and I keep hoping for something definitive and useful.
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Old 12-23-2011, 11:55 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
22,308 posts, read 17,066,443 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by user_id View Post
You realize you're given an argument for merit based pay in education right? You are stating why the merit based system in private industry is better than the non-merit based system you are experiencing as a teacher...... The whole idea here is to make schools function, structurally, more like a business.

I mean, why do you keep giving examples from your experience when you're in a school that isn't using a merit system?
No. I've stated that the merit pay system from industry won't work in teaching. About as far as you could go would be paying more for subject matter expertise (can be measured on tests) and for experience. We already do the latter with the stepped system. They're doing away with increased pay for increased education. Soon we'll just have to continue our educations to keep the job we have with no incentive pay.

I'm not making an argument for merit pay in education. I don't think there's an objective way to do it. There wasn't in industry which is why there was a panel review. I didn't just work with my manager, I worked with several managers and they all participated in that review process (this is where we were ranked for the purpose of determining our next raise). My manager wrote the review but he had to defend it in front of the other managers who worked with me as well. That just can't happen in teaching. I work in my room by myself most hours of the day.

I do think teaching needs to compete with industry to attract subject matter experts but that's about it. I just don't see where a merit pay system will work. It would become a popularity contest if there weren't objective measurables but what could they be in teaching besides my education and experience?

I give examples from my school because they apply to any school. This is how teachers are evaluated. Unlike other workers, we don't do our jobs in front of our bosses and peers every day. We do it behind closed doors. You'd have many of the same issues if you were trying to evaluate employees who work from home if the evaluation of the quality of the work were subjective. You just can't watch someone work twice a year and have a real picture of the quality of the job they do.
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:04 AM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
12,351 posts, read 10,681,360 times
Reputation: 4075
Quote:
Originally Posted by jps-teacher View Post
It helps if the research you link connects to the arguments you are making. Evaluation of teachers is very different from evaluation of student teachers, in whom the students have a far less vested interest, as the student teachers will not be back the following term/year.
Umm...the link is certainly connected to the discussion in this thread. The primary argument in this thread against student evaluations has been that the students are too immature to make intelligent evaluations and this research shows otherwise.

Students are generally evaluating teachers at the end of their stay with the teacher so I'm not so sure why you think there is a big difference.

My comments in this thread are largely inline with what you are linking to, for example, I've stated numerous times that student evaluations have weakness and shouldn't be used as the sole measure of teacher performance. Indeed, student evaluations should primary be used as a feedback mechanism rather than an evaluational tool. In terms of teacher evaluation, I'd suggest that student evaluations over a course of many years will start to paint an accurate picture but in shorter periods can easily be distorted.

Anyhow, if research can show that student evaluations are truly not useful then they shouldn't be used. But the use of student evaluations as measure of teacher performance is entirely independent to the general question of whether teachers pay should be structured around merit rather than arbitrary rules. I certainly wouldn't want schools to base their measures of teacher performance on my conjectures, it should all be evidence based.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jps-teacher View Post
So, no... it is not just teachers who have a hard time with the student evaluations - there are plenty of researchers with plenty of issues with it.
Umm......finding a weakness in student evaluations is not the same as a wholesale rejection of student evaluations as a measure of teacher performance. Indeed, none of what you cited rejects the use of student evaluations in their entirety. You seem to just be spamming any study that shows, on the face of it, something negative.
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:10 AM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
12,351 posts, read 10,681,360 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
I just don't see where a merit pay system will work. It would become a popularity contest if there weren't objective measurables but what could they be in teaching besides my education and experience?
The fact that you can't see how it would work is hardly an argument against it..... You keep saying it would be a "popularity contest", yet you give examples from industry where such things are limited. Why can't schools mimic the organizational structures found in businesses?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
I give examples from my school because they apply to any school. This is how teachers are evaluated.
Umm........but again, your school doesn't use merit based pay so why are you continuously citing it as an example? The evaluations at your school aren't being done in the context of a merit based system, so again, why do you think its relevant? Your examples instead show problems with the current system....which isn't merit based.
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:19 AM
 
Location: Conejo Valley, CA
12,351 posts, read 10,681,360 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jps-teacher View Post
But your suggestion of using "a method that is actually has some relation to the labor market" is roughly the same as the suggestions that we do that with our evaluation of our students - NCBL - and it just does not work.
What doesn't work? Never in this thread have I suggested that student evaluations be used as the sole, or even primary, measure of teacher performance. I cited it merely as an example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jps-teacher View Post
Teachers do not have a product and so long as we keep pretending they do, we will keep having graduates who are not as ready to move ahead as we would like.
This is hogwash, education isn't a product its a service and if you haven't noticed there are hundreds of thousands of service related businesses in this country. Heck, there are thousands of private businesses provide educational services....

There is no reason primary and secondary education can't be treated like any other service sector business.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jps-teacher View Post
It just happens to be filled with disagreements, contradictions, and zero conclusions. Honest! This issue is important to me and I keep hoping for something definitive and useful.
This line of thinking is utterly bizarre, so since there is no definitive conclusion in the social sciences we are going to forgo them entirely and instead go with the status quo which is not based on anything definitive either? Huh?
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:44 AM
 
2,175 posts, read 2,225,412 times
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Originally Posted by user_id View Post
Umm...the link is certainly connected to the discussion in this thread. The primary argument in this thread against student evaluations has been that the students are too immature to make intelligent evaluations and this research shows otherwise.

Students are generally evaluating teachers at the end of their stay with the teacher so I'm not so sure why you think there is a big difference.
Students who stay in a school with the teacher have more of a vested interest in what happens to/with the teacher. They fight for the teachers they like and to undermine the teachers they do not.

There is more... emotion, positive or negative, invested in the relationships, usually.

Quote:
Originally Posted by user_id View Post
My comments in this thread are largely inline with what you are linking to, for example, I've stated numerous times that student evaluations have weakness and shouldn't be used as the sole measure of teacher performance. Indeed, student evaluations should primary be used as a feedback mechanism rather than an evaluational tool. In terms of teacher evaluation, I'd suggest that student evaluations over a course of many years will start to paint an accurate picture but in shorter periods can easily be distorted.
One of the notables at the college level was the stability over time of evaluations - the same profs in the same classes tended to get similar ratings (for moderately light meanings of similar, since they were rating .49 as a high outcome).

The problem I have is that we don't have a standard for what "effective teaching" means which results in our not having a way to determine whether student evaluations are good for determining effective teaching! We do know that there does not seem to be a strong correlation between high school student ratings of teachers and students' performances on subsequent standardized testing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by user_id View Post
Anyhow, if research can show that student evaluations are truly not useful then they shouldn't be used. But the use of student evaluations as measure of teacher performance is entirely independent to the general question of whether teachers pay should be structured around merit rather than arbitrary rules. I certainly wouldn't want schools to base their measures of teacher performance on my conjectures, it should all be evidence based.
"Arbitrary rules" is how we label those rules with which we disagree, while insisting that our rules are all rational and reasonable. Years working is how most public employees are paid. There is a grid that shows position and longevity and pay. It gets adjusted some years by a cost of living increase, but not always. That makes it not an arbitrary rule. Is it a good way? I certainly have my doubts - there are teachers who seem to get worse, not better, over time.

Tenure? Eh. Tenure has some major good points to it. It has some major bad points to it. Stupidly enough, getting rid of "deadwood teachers" doesn't seem to be one of the major bad points to it, even though we all used to think so! A study in Rochester, NY, a while ago saw the Union yield their power to block firing of bad teachers in trade for increased pay structure and greater flexibility on curriculum for the staff.

There was neither a great exodus of inept teachers nor a grand rush of new, excited, more qualified teachers, and the classroom curricula did not see a renaissance of creativity in the classroom.

Nobody looked very good coming out of that experiment.

Meanwhile... in Teachers can be fired: The quest for quality (1995), Hans Andrews points out that “Poor instruction is not identified through the use of student ratings.” Cheryl Sullivan (Rewarding excellence: Teacher evaluation and compensation, 2001) indicated that there is no evidence of increased student achievement with the use of student evaluations - and not in a teacher publication, but for the National School Board Association! (This is part of a series they put out, called Elements of Teacher Effectiveness. Good stuff whether looking at it as a teacher, a teacher trainer, or a school board member.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by user_id View Post
Umm......finding a weakness in student evaluations is not the same as a wholesale rejection of student evaluations as a measure of teacher performance. Indeed, none of what you cited rejects the use of student evaluations in their entirety. You seem to just be spamming any study that shows, on the face of it, something negative.
I don't think strong gender bias across an entire broad area (science) is "a weakness." I think it is pretty damning.

Your bolded statement seems a tad misapplied given the following two items:
1) I offered specifics rather than just "here are bunches of studies;"
2) I included one that showed, on the face of it, predominantly positive information and another that was not trying to convince the reader of either position. I'm pretty sure that discredits your argument.
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Old 12-24-2011, 12:53 AM
 
2,175 posts, read 2,225,412 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by user_id View Post
What doesn't work?
Merit pay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by user_id View Post
This is hogwash, education isn't a product its a service
I am suggesting to you (rather strongly) that the methods we are using for evaluating our students and those proposed for merit pay evaluation of teachers are very much production oriented.

Quote:
Originally Posted by user_id View Post
and if you haven't noticed there are hundreds of thousands of service related businesses in this country. Heck, there are thousands of private businesses provide educational services....

There is no reason primary and secondary education can't be treated like any other service sector business.
Okay. How are lawyers evaluated? Nurses? I already suggested looking at the methods for evaluating psychologists, if you recollect. Which services do you think line up with teachers best? How are they evaluated?


Quote:
Originally Posted by user_id View Post
This line of thinking is utterly bizarre, so since there is no definitive conclusion in the social sciences we are going to forgo them entirely and instead go with the status quo which is not based on anything definitive either? Huh?
Changing from one unsupported practice to another unsupported practice just for the sake of change is no less bizarre than staying with an unsupported practice just because that is what we are doing.

My point was that your claim that "tons of research" supports your conclusions and provided clear direction is just not true.
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