Surprise: Teachers Crave Evaluation

Article excerpt

A survey of teachers shows that most say student progress can used to evaluate their job performance, but they're wary of using standardized tests. As for tenure? It shouldn't be used to protect ineffective teachers, they say.

Read education headlines these days, and the take-away might be that it's teachers versus reformers on most key issues.

But a new report from Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foun-dation paints a very different picture of teachers and their views.

Having surveyed more than 10,000 teachers, the report offers a nuanced look at how they feel about their profession, testing, controversial reforms, and what needs to change.

Far from wanting fewer evaluations of their teaching, for instance, they want more.

Teachers want more formalized self-evaluations, more evaluations by principals and district leaders, and more assessments of their knowledge in the subjects they teach.

They also agree overwhelmingly that student growth during the school year should be the most important factor in measuring teacher performance. Forty-three percent say it should contribute a great deal, and an additional 42 percent say it should contribute a moderate amount.

They have less faith, however, that standardized tests are the best way of measuring that growth. Just 4 percent say student performance on standardized tests should contribute a great deal in their evaluations, while 36 percent believe it should contribute at least a moderate amount.

"A lot of people think teachers don't want [evaluations]," says Margery Mayer, president of Scholastic Education. "They do want that, but in a way that's fair and thoughtful. …

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