As more and more states push legislation tying teacher evaluations to student achievement – a policy incentivized by the federal Race to the Top program – many are scrambling to put data systems in place that can accurately connect teachers to their students. But in a world of student mobility, teacher re-assignments, co-teaching, and multiple service providers, determining the roster of students to attribute to a teacher is more complicated than it may sound.
Jane West, vice president of policy, programs, and professional issues for the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, stressed that while there's a need to track the performance of teacher-education graduates, "we have a long way to go" before the data can be considered reliable.
Teachers who leave the state, teach out-of-field, or move to private schools are nearly impossible to track, she said. And teachers in non-tested subjects and grades are out of the mix as well. Last year, the University of Central Florida was only able to get student-achievement data for 12 percent of its graduating class, yet that information was reported publicly. "What's the threshold?" West asked. "Where's the check to ensure that's a valid and reliable measure? It needs to be more than 12 percent."
In all, the Data Quality Campaign’s conference was tightly managed and left little opportunity for audience participation, offering attendees a controlled (though still controversial) takeaway: that improved student achievement hinges on improving the teacher-student data link.
[readon2 url="http://aacte.org/index.php?/Media-Center/AACTE-in-the-News/linking-student-data-to-teachers-a-complex-task-experts-say.html"]Read the entire article..[/readon2]