People oppose using standardized tests to evaluate teachers

The new PDK/Gallup poll has lots of interesting findings. This one should cause pause among law makers

Table 6. Some states require that teacher evaluations include how well a teacher’s students perform on standardized tests. Do you favor or oppose this requirement?

2014 2013 2012
Favor 38% 41% 52%
Oppose 61% 58% 47%
Here's how the pollster interpreted this finding
— How teachers are evaluated is an important component to teacher quality, so it’s not surprising that Americans have opinions about teacher appraisal. A plan popular among some state and federal policy makers uses student standardized test results as a significant component in evaluating teachers, in some places comprising up to 50% of the evaluation. However, more than 60% of Americans do not support this approach, and their opposition is trending upward.

At the same time, Americans said they believe teacher evaluation should be primarily designed to help teachers improve their ability to teach. If we listen carefully to the opinions of Americans, we need to research better ways to evaluate teachers and principals that are not overly reliant upon how students perform on standardized tests.

The big question is, will law makers listen?

Share your comment:

Reynoldsburg has the worst Teacher Student Ratio in Franklin County

When Reynoldsburg teachers issued their 10 day strike notice to the board of education, they did so saying,
As front line educators, we have listened to our students, our parents, and our community. We have heard the calls for class size caps. We have heard the calls for addressing our teacher turnover issue. We have brought these issues to the bargaining table time and time again, and each time Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning and the Board have refused to address these crucial concerns, instead continuing a divisive ideological crusade that now leaves us with no choice but to exercise our right to strike.
We thought we would take a look at the ratio of teachers to students in Reynoldsburg City Schools. What we discovered is shocking. Reynoldsburg has the worst ratio of all school districts in the state. We looked at the 2012-13 enrollment and teacher data from ODE

District Name Enrollment # Full Time teachers Teacher Student Ratio
Grandview Heights City 1055 91 11.6
Upper Arlington City 5625 407 13.8
Bexley City 2143 154 13.9
Worthington City 9125 612 14.9
Whitehall City 2954 195 15.1
Gahanna-Jefferson City 6992 456 15.3
Dublin City 14056 915 15.4
Groveport Madison Local 5587 362 15.4
South-Western City 19563 1256 15.6
New Albany-Plain Local 4481 287 15.6
Westerville City 13902 832 16.7
Columbus City 49509 2957 16.7
Hilliard City 14840 868 17.1
Canal Winchester Local 3518 205 17.2
Hamilton Local 2929 157 18.7
Reynoldsburg City 5974 309 19.3

Where the Franklin county average is 15 students for every teacher, in Reynoldsburg that number exceeds 19!

This is a board and Superintendent that is out of touch and the sooner they realize that and start listening to their teachers the better. The Reynoldsburg community deserves better.

Share your comment:

The US tests way more than other successful countries

Via The Center for International Education Benchmarking

Unlike the top-performing countries on the 2012 PISA, the United States stands out for the amount of external testing it requires for all students. As the chart below shows, the United States is the only country among this set to require annual testing in primary and middle schools in reading and mathematics. A more typical pattern among the top-performers is a required gateway exam, or an exam that allows a student to move on to the next phase of education, at the end of primary school, the end of lower secondary school and the end of upper secondary school. This is true of Canada (Ontario), China (Shanghai), Estonia, Poland and Singapore. In some of these cases, the secondary school exams are used to determine placement in the next level of schooling such as in Singapore and Shanghai where the lower school-leaving exam determines placement in upper secondary school. And in Poland, Shanghai and Singapore the upper secondary academic exam functions as an admission exam for university. This differs from the United States where annual tests are used primarily for school and teacher accountability purposes.

As the United States embarks on implementing tests to measure students’ mastery of the Common Core State Standards, it would be wise to keep in mind these very different models of not only test schedules, but format and purpose. The tests in the top-performing countries come at key gateways when students advance from one school to another and have a purpose that is clearly understood by students, parents and teachers.

Share your comment:

You won't believe the schedule of tests for this Ohio school district

To say the parent who sent us this Dublin City Schools testing schedule was concerned is an understatement. One quick look and you can understand why. Over 170 different testing regimines are outlined in this schedule. There's barely a month in the calaendar when some kind of testing is not happening somewhere in the distrcit. Much of it is state mandated, even for pre-schoolers and kindergarten students.

You can see from the list (pre and post growth measuring) that much of the tesitng is for the purposes of generating value-add data, so teachers can be ranked and sorted.

Back in June, out-going NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said, “The testing fixation has reached the point of insanity.Whatever valuable information testing mandates provided have been completely overshadowed by the enormous collateral damage inflicted on too many students. Our schools have been reduced to mere test prep factories and we are too-often ignoring student learning and opportunity in America.”

New NEA President Lily Eskelsen García, went further

All of this testing means our students have less time to learn—and we are stealing it from them for these tests. A recent survey found that students are spending as much as 30 percent of their class time preparing for and taking these unaligned tests. We are stealing so much learning time from our kids, their parents are going to have to start asking, “What were you tested on in school today?” instead of, “What did you learn in school today?” Our students are so busy taking tests that they don’t have time to learn the material we are testing them on!

As educators, we know that this amount of testing—and the serious consequences attached to these tests—is toxic for our students. As they enter the adult world, our students will need to have good writing and math skills, creative problem-solving skills, and critical thinking skills. But I doubt they will spend up to 30 percent of their time filling in bubbles on a toxic test.

Here's the list of toxic testing students at Dublin will be asked to particpate in this coming school year

2014-15 Assessment Calendar - By Grade

Share your comment:

Reynoldsburg Deserves Better

The Reynoldsburg School Board held its first public meeting since the district’s teachers voted to authorize a strike two weeks ago. As with the previous meeting, the venue was packed with teachers, students and community members, all opposed to the boards contract proposals. They had a simple message - the community deserves better.

In two packed board meetings now, not a single person has come forward to express any support for the 4 members of the Reynoldsburg school board pushing this extremist agenda. But instead of listening to the mounting chorus of objections to their plans, they continue to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on out of town lawyer and strike breaking firms like Huffmaster, which the board voter 4-0 last night to hire in case a strike occurs.

Via NEA:

The teachers, members of the Reynoldsburg Education Association, issued a statement August 8 after authorizing their bargaining team to call a strike at its discretion. Their 10-day notice of intent to strike, said the teachers, is a “continuation of our fight for the schools that Reynoldsburg students deserve, including a reasonable class size limit and a means of addressing the unprecedented teacher turnover in our district.”

Parent Debbie Dunlap, who has three children attending Reynoldsburg schools, said community backing of teachers has increased. “The support continues to grow. We hope the board members are truly hearing. We keep reminding them we are the stakeholders. And we’re not a few; we’re many.”

The teachers and the district failed to reach an agreement after meeting with a federal mediator this month. There is no word on when the mediator will be called back. The current contract expired July 31.

Since January, 54 teachers have left the district, including four whose resignations the board approved tonight. The total represents 20 percent of the district’s teachers. Twenty-eight teachers left during the same period the year before. The district has 6,200 students.

Parents of students are growing increasingly critical of the board’s refusal to heed community input.

In a letter to the school board, parent Beth Thompson wrote:
I firmly believe that this contract proposal will push high-quality teachers far away from Reynoldsburg; the very same teachers who have pushed our students and schools to become a model of innovation and to earn marks like Excellent and Excellent with Distinction in recent years. Basing a teacher’s pay increase on merit is an insult to teachers who collaborate, who we love and who treat our children with love and respect. This proposal disrespects the level of commitment these teachers have brought to our children for years.

Teacher and REA spokesperson Kathy Evans told local news station NBC 4, “Of course we don’t want to strike, but our students, teachers and community deserve a contract that invests in classroom priorities and builds a strong foundation for student learning.”

Students returned for the new school year August 13. Teachers, said Dunlap, continue to pour their energies into their students, regardless of the board’s actions.

“It has been very, very stressful for teachers,” said Dunlap. “But what has happened time and time again is teachers telling us, ‘Thank you. We couldn’t do this without your support.”

Dunlap said parents have been “awakened,” and she predicted community support will grow moving forward. “This momentum will not stop, even with a new contract. What happens here will affect not only our children but other children in Ohio and across the country, as well as educators.”

Share your comment:

Get Involved

 First Name
 Last Name
 School District