Teachers Effectiveness The Real Problem and Solution

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In this increasingly competitive, interconnected and technological, knowledge empowers individuals; it steers their future. Now, this is where teacher enter into the equation. Like the 'postmen' who deliver parcels, teachers deliver knowledge to the - leader of tomorrow - students. Teachers are the largest contributor to student's learning - 40% in reading and mathematics - even surpassing factors such as student background (Rhoton, Stile *). Effective teachers deliver knowledge to students well (in quantity and quality); whereas ineffective teachers are like ineffective 'postmen', this vital knowledge, unfortunately, goes missing. Research shows that effective teachers can put even the most disadvantaged students on the path to college *, while ineffective teachers can deal students an academic blow from which they may never recover.* Having an effective teacher in comparison to an ineffective teacher result in more than two thirds of academic quartile difference.* * flow diagram

Currently, the government wants to increase teachers quality by eliminating ineffective teachers identified through the Value Added Assessment (VAA); I would, however, argue that this is not a correct solution to the issue. Instead, I propose an action plan that couples the use of Value Added Assessment (VAA) with teacher support before sending in the 'pink slip'. For this, I will explain my paper in three parts: 1) How did teacher evaluations come about and past methods of evaluation, 2) what the current argument is about, and 3) how to solve the problem while satisfying as many parties as possible.

How did teacher evaluations come about,

Teacher evaluation has existed since the days of one-room school in the late 19th century in the United States. Instead of determining students learning success, teacher evaluation was initiated to determine job continuation and pay raise (Markley 1). But as schools became larger and unions became more influential during the industrial revolution, the unions starting setting small scale standardized evaluation criteria for teachers' dismissal and advancement to protect the teachers (Markley 1). The arrival of Cold War and Sputnik cause fear among Americans that their students are less educated compared to the Soviets. Therefore, education, teacher, and teacher evaluation were emphasized more than ever. Up till this point, teachers were well respected. In 1983, however, a report would change the definition of learning success, role of teacher, and scale of teacher evaluations forever. By highlighting the failure of the previous education model failure, A Nation at Risk Report (National Commission on Excellenece in Education) initiated increased reliance on standardized testing in the education model and turned teachers into laborers - instead of respected professionals - of prescribed programs by policy makers. Also, the report cause a movement which led to statewide teacher evaluation systems such as North Carolina's Teacher Performance Appraisal Instrument (TPAI) (North Carolina department of Public Instruction, 2000) to identify effective teachers (Papanstasiou).

Teacher evaluations practices have evolved over time. In the past, teachers were often evaluated subjectively by individuals such as parents, principles, students, and peers. In 1960s, a news article wrote on the role of parents as teacher evaluator (Hendryson). Later in the century, 99.8% of teacher evaluations in public schools were conducted by principals in classroom observations (Sullivan). ). All these subjective evaluations in the past evaluate teachers' teaching techniques; they avoided using student achievement data due to the belief that effective teaching techniques would automatically yield positive student achievement (Clark 12). However, these subjective evaluations are criticized for their failure to gauge effectiveness. Traditional observers - principals - and non-traditional observers - parents, student, and peers - lack expertise in specialized areas, and objectivity in evaluating teachers (Andrews, Sullivan). Due to this criticism, Dr. William Sanders pioneer the first model of Value Added Assessment - Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) to increase objectivity and effectiveness in teacher evaluations (Sanders, Wright, & Horn). In the Value Added Assessment, for the first time, student achievement data - test scores - were used to ascertain students' learning success by comparing students' current and past test score; the increase in test scores would translate into the 'value added' by the teacher (Ever-green Freedom Foundation) to the students. The higher increase in test scores of a class, the more effective a teacher is.

The definition of an effective teacher range from a loving and kind teacher * to his portfolio? Later, by In the past It is interesting to note the point raised that learning success is not only dependent on the abilitity * information flowpic Value Added


(Sanders, 1996, 1999; Sanders, Wright, & Horn, 1997) and others at the University of Tennessee







Teacher evaluation is controversial because it combines two elements new to education professionals and the public - quantifiable measurement of performance, and stakes like firing or public exposure.

the current argument from multiple perspectives on the issue

ROTHERHAM In trying to raise teacher effectiveness, various states have taken steps such as eliminating under qualified teachers. Teacher effectiveness evaluation programs such as the Value Added Methodologies (VAM) were used. This is partly due to the fact that the Federal Government requires states who want to participate and receive funding from the government to employ Value-Added Methodologies to assess teachers and identify ineffective teachers so that they could be eliminated. ("U.S. Department of Education") However, the Value Added Methodologies which compiles students test scores as a set of datas to evaluate teachers effectiveness has many flaws. The usage of Value Added (McNeil)

Tenure reform efforts are under consideration in states and school districts across the country, but have generally met with  opposition from teachers' unions. That opposition is unfortunate and counterproductive. Teachers' unions should work with legislators to identify ways to eliminate ineffective teachers. The great majority of teachers who really care don't need lazy and ineffective colleagues spoiling their efforts. A bad teacher who meets a student at a critical juncture in life can turn off the child's interest in school for years to come.

Mr. Christie said he would immediately appoint a nine-member task force of education experts to recommend by March an evaluation system for teachers that would be based largely on student achievement.

TVAAS is not without its critics. Several reviews of the program have raised some

concerns. Baker, Xu, and Detch (1995) raised concerns about the variation in scores from year to

year, problems with identifying teacher factors, and data collection issues. Sanders (Sanders et

al., 1997) stated that this system answers many of these concerns and is a valid indicator of

teacher effectiveness. Bock, Wolfe, and Fisher (1996) also found some areas of concern with the

model. These included problems with missing data, the number of questions on the new science

and social studies test, test changes over time, and some test administration issues. Bock, Wolfe,

and Fisher (1996) were concerned about the use of national norming numbers in the TVAAS

system. Although there were concerns, the researchers did conclude:

We agree that the central concept of the assessment system is the only present, fair,

objective, and dependable methods of evaluating teacher effectiveness based on scores

and the measurement of achievement gain shown by students during a period a teacher is

responsible for their instruction in the subject matter measured by the test (Bock, Wolfe,

& Fisher, 1996, p. 69)

Methodologies has caused much debate between the teachers union and state government. Weingarten ("American Federation of Teachers") representing the teacher union standpoint, maintains that teachers should not be evaluated solely on Value Added Methodologies because they are undependable, imprecise, and are often misused. Sam Dillon in his New York Times article agrees that VAM is not yet suitable to be used to evaluate teachers' effectiveness. He outlined these flaws being: the fluctuations and random errors of the rankings every year, the problem of attributing learning gains to a specific instructor, and the limitations of ceiling effect (where advanced students who already having high scores will have little gains to translate into their teacher's value-added assessment). However, states government such as in District of Columbia and New York has taken a strong stand for using the Value Added Methodologies. Michelle Rhee, the former DC Chancellor, in particular, fired 241 'under qualified' teachers.

Present Argument

What - current status?


The use of Value Added Assessment spread nationwide since the launch of the 4 billion federal "Race to the Top" grants on July 2009 ("U.S. Department of Education). To compete for the grant, states are required to remove existing law barring the linkage of student test data to teacher performance (McNeil). As a result of many states effort to raise teacher effectiveness, Value Added Assessment was used to identify and eliminate 'ineffective teachers'. This, however, was met with fierce contention from the teachers union. Teachers unions criticize the reliability of the datas from the Value Added Assessment, criticizing that not only that student test score should not reflect their learning success, but also the critical flaws in the system. Protests were staged in cities like Chicago, Sacramento City, New Jersey, and Baltimore. Some laid-off teachers even took the case to the courts (Appeal Democrat). State government such as New Jersey's Governor, on the other hand, 'reassured' that the government is persisting in using the Value Added Assessment, and the layoffs would continue (New York Times). In Los Angeles, the data of the Value Added Assessment published on the LA Times not only outraged 40,000 union members to boycott it, but the rating of an 'ineffective teacher' has also caused Rigoberto Ruelas Jr - a teacher rated as outstanding by his principal - to commit suicide. Ruelas former student said: "He took the worse students and tried to change their lives. I had friends who wanted to be gangsters, but he talked them out of it. He treated you like family." Unfortunately, an ability to help steer vulnerable kids away from gang life by offering a nurturing environment at school isn't something that's measured on a standardized test.

Before I could properly address and solve this issue in part (III) of my paper, I will first dissect the intricacy of the issue by providing the perspectives of the Federal Government, State government, teacher unions, media, ow is it discussed?

With the current visible event around teacher effectiveness, it is easy to fall prey to the oversimplification of the issue like many scholars on the way of my research: on one end, the state government is an arbitrator of a flawed teacher evaluation system and on the other side of the spectrum, the teachers and the teacher union just want to protect the jobs for the teachers. To truly solve the problem, we will need to take a step beyond that shallowness of view. First, from the point of view of the government. While it is true that the Value Added Assessment is flawed. Stakes are too high for inaction.

He outlined these flaws being: the fluctuations and random errors of the rankings every year, the problem of attributing learning gains to a specific instructor, and the limitations of ceiling effect (where advanced students who already having high scores will have little gains to translate into their teacher's value-added assessment).

Over the course of a school year, a good teacher produces $400,000 more in future earnings for a class of 20 students than an average teacher. What's more, replacing the worst-performing five to eight percent of teachers with average teachers could catapult the U.S. to near the top of international math and science rankings, padding GDP by $100 trillion and generating returns that dwarf "the discussions of U.S. economic stimulus packages related to the 2008 recession ($1 trillion)."

These are the findings of a National Bureau of Economic Research study by Stanford's Eric Hanushek, which investigates the interplay between teacher effectiveness and the economic impact of higher student achievement, specifically in terms of test scores. 

No amount of statistics can eliminate all

uncertainties or inequities in evaluating schools and

teachers. But value-added analysis does provide a

better tool to focus on the real issue in education:

What and how much are students learning? As we

turn the focus to answering this question, annual

statistical analysis may prove to be only the beginning.

Teachers can target their classroom assessments to

make sure their students are moving forward

throughout the year. They can ensure that the lessons

they are offering are appropriate for their particular

group of students. Principals can determine if school

configurations and programs are having their desired


In the end, value-added assessment is simply a

statistically sophisticated way to help good teachers

and administrators do what they have always tried to

do: find out where students are academically and take

them as far as they can go.

What Americans think?

normal american view

students view

critics vs supporter - identical supporting no traditional evaluation


fed Gov view:

The federal government will only award its Race to the Top grant to states that permit using student achievement data to evaluate teachers, even while experts continue to debate whether student test scores can be used legitimately for that purpose.

State gov view

comply, DC, NY

Media's view

supp VAM & publish the data

parents view



teacher view

Not only our responsibilities, learning intricacy


incomplete flaw

But attaching teachers' names to their scores? Letting parents (or anyone else) search a database to see whether Mr. Smith is a good teacher or a bad one? Unless you'd be comfortable with a newspaper publishing an incomplete evaluation of your job performance, that step should give you pause.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2020867,00.html#ixzz19Hn9itEd

Teacher Unions


With few exceptions, teachers' unions fight against efforts to ground teacher evaluation in data and simultaneously resist giving administrators the discretion to remove teachers. That pretty much relegates evaluations to the realm of Ouija boards. (Disclosure: I'm making this criticism at the same time I'm getting paid by one of the unions to help strategize in a different area.) Currently, the unions' favored remedy is "peer review," letting teachers evaluate each other. The results of the few initiatives trying this method are strikingly modest (especially in relation to the rhetoric about them), and overall there is no evidence that self-regulation works any better in education than it did in the financial sector.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2020867,00.html#ixzz19HkOgLqr

Scholars view

Critic VAM (not for high stakes, or solely) but better than other methods

RAND Corporation, after a 2-year investigation of VAM,

pointed to a number of other technical problems

ii on ste side note,

and concluded that while the model is more

sound than many other methods currently being used for test-based accountability, "the research

base is currently insufficient to support the use of VAM for high-stakes decisions" (McCaffrey et

al., 2004, p. 8). Dale Ballou also has been critical of relying solely on valued-added standardized

achievement scores for teacher accountability purposes.

Thoughtful analysts and reformers like Ted Hershberg (2005) call for value-added assessments

to be part of individual accountability only if it is coupled with other measures of teaching

performance. As Hershberg said eloquently, as long as teachers are treated "fairly as

individuals," then "we must be willing to innovate, take risks, and not let perfect be the enemy of

the good."

Who - champions?


I would, however, argue that they are misdiagnosing and not addressing the teacher effectiveness problem correctly. The real problem lies in school shortages of teacher. Schools have not been able to find qualified candidates to fill their openings, inevitably resulting in the hiring of under qualified teachers. The supply of new teachers is insufficient to keep up with the demand. Attempting to eliminate more teachers will only worsen this condition. So the real solution to teacher effectiveness should not be eliminating more teachers, but on how to improve the teachers that are 'under qualified' as identified by the Value Added Methodologies. Solving the root of the problem - raising teacher quality should be the priority, not worsening the root of the problem.

Only a few dozen districts have been able to launch career ladders that have worked and lasted for more than a few years. This shows the importance of the Federal Government role to support a continuous teacher's development program nationwide which would not work without its role. (Linda)

Rather than a short term goal of eliminating ineffective teachers to raise teacher effectiveness, they should instead focus on a sustainable long term goal -- raising teachers quality through investments in teachers development program. Teachers development program such as those proposed by the American Federation of Teachers should be looked into. They have created a model for evaluating teachers' effectiveness which includes a teacher development program. According to them, it "helps promising teachers improve, enables good teachers to become great." In order to solve the current arguments between the teachers union and the states' government, I would agree with the state that Value Added Methodologies should be used identified 'under qualified' teachers, however, I would also disagree with state's action of dismissing tenure based solely on the results of the Value Added Methodologies (which is a concern of the teachers union).

I propose the following:

The teachers with low scores as identified by the Value Added Methodologies be given a voluntary dismissal

If they should decide to continue their tenure, they will undergo a one year clinical training in a Teacher Development Program mainly because teacher effectiveness is greatly enhanced by clinical trainings (Speroni) and that less than half of the teachers hired during the last nine years participated in formal induction programs during their first teaching year. (" National Center for Education Statistics")

Teachers with high scores as identified by the Value Added Methodologies will be offered merit pay and, at the same time, upgraded to a "professional" or "mentor" status

These "professional" or "mentor" status teacher will be recruited to mentor underqualified teachers in the clinical training program of the Teacher Development Program which can take place in either the schools or centralized centre

New and incoming teachers should be automatically enrolled into the clinical training programs before starting their teaching career

The proposal above was deduced after observation of other professional career bodies such as lawyers and doctors. One of the discontents of the teachers union also involves the states making decisions without the participation of the unions, unlike the legal profession qualifying boards which regulates its membership. To start off, the teachers union already has no such autonomy to determine its own qualifying on unqualified members. At the same time, the states and its policymaker, which they view as an outsider who would not be able to fully understand the problems, and challenges in the teaching profession, is trying to enforce what they think is the measurement of an "effective teacher" on them. To solve this dilemma, representatives from the teachers union and "professional" status teachers should be allowed to form an independent committee with the state government and/or Federal government which will oversee the teacher development program. Federal, state, and local partnerships should be fully integrated for the success of the teacher development program.

Although some critique may state that there would be a high cost to initiate the Teacher Development Program, I would, however, argue that for the long term goal of rising generation of students' academic success, it is a worthwhile investment. Furthermore, the new Teacher Development Program Race can be proposed to receive funding from the Federal Government's Race To The Top program to be viable cost-wise. Some may also critique that with an unemployment rate of 9% (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), there should not be any worries of teacher shortages after eliminating underqualified teachers. I would however argue that there are critical shortages of teachers especially in the special education, mathematics, science (particularly the physical sciences), computer science ("Nebraska State Education Association")

To sum it up, I believe that to solve the teacher effectiveness, we should go beyond evaluating and eliminating ineffective teachers, rather, we would need to invest in viable long term goals like a new nationwide Teacher Education Program.

Teaching involves a the use of a wide body of knowledge about the subject being taught, and another set of knowledge about the most effective ways to teach that subject to different kinds of learner; it therefore requires teachers to undertake a complex set of tasks every minute. Many teachers experience their first years in the profession as stressful. The proportion of teachers who either do not enter the profession after completing initial training, or who leave the profession after their first teaching post, is high[3].

A distinction is sometimes made between inducting a teacher into a new school (explaining the school's vision, procedures etc), and inducting a new teacher into the teaching profession (providing the support necessary to help the beginning teacher develop a professional identity, and to further develop the basic competences that were acquired in college.)

A number of countries and states have put in place comprehensive systems of support to help beginning teachers during their first years in the profession. Elements of such a programme can include:

mentoring: the allocation to each beginning teacher of an experienced teacher, specifically trained as a mentor; the mentor may provide emotional and professional support and guidance; in many US states, induction is limited to the provision of a mentor, but research suggests that, in itself, it is not enough. [4].

a peer network: for mutual support but also for peer learning.

input from educational experts (e.g. to help the beginning teacher relate what she learned in college with classroom reality)

support for the process of self-reflection that all techers engage in (e.g. through the keeping of a journal).

Some research[5] suggests that such programmes can: increase the retention of beginning teachers in the profession; improve teaching performance; promote the teachers' personal and professional well-being[

Using the vam has a few problem:

Random error

Student test score are not a measurement of learning success, knowledge they have received

Fluctuations and random errors


By integrating value-added assessment into its

testing program, a state or school district gives itself a

powerful tool for transforming student test data into

information that can potentially improve student

learning. The examples of different jurisdictions that have

used a value-added analysis provide some guidelines as

to what elements are necessary to make this potential

tool effective:

• Fair and accurate, explanation, wise , data translation Sound statistical analysis: The statistical

system used must be reviewed by statistical

experts to ensure fairness and accuracy for the

level of detail offered. The standard of growth

chosen and data included should be carefully

reviewed to logically support the state's

policies. The system should be capable of

explanation, at least in concept, to those who

will be receiving and acting on the data.

Finally, the data should make sense in

comparison to the real-world experiences of

those involved.

• attention to details, Adequate data detail: To provide the greatest

amount of information for making datadriven decisions, data should be available at

the district, building, grade, and teacher level.

It would also be advantageous to be able to

compare data by achievement level, and

perhaps by other considerations such as

ethnicity or socio-economic status, in order to

identify any specific subgroups not making

adequate gains. If teachers were also able to

look at individual student levels, they might

be able to make better determinations of how

best to help each student in their class.

• Appropriate publicity and training: Because

value-added assessment is an unfamiliar

approach to test scores for most people,

implementing it will require ensuring that

the media, parents, and community

understand what the new scores mean.

Educators must not only understand what

the scores mean, but be thoroughly trained in

how to use the scores in decision-making.

That training will need to be ongoing to

accommodate staff turnover.

• how to use data to improve learning. Extend. Commitment to using data to improve

student learning: Value-added systems have

generally been enacted first as an

accountability measure. But accountability

itself exists to further what should be the end

goal of every action in the school system:

increasing student learning. Obtaining valueadded data is not enough. Principals and

teachers, especially, must be committed to

using the data to ask questions about how

learning can be improved.

• Adequate resources: Value-added assessment

will require expenditures to provide for

annual testing, data analysis, and staff

training. Further funds may also be necessary

to provide incentives or to implement

necessary changes identified after obtaining

the data.

• Incentives for high performance: Although

value-added data itself provides incentives for

schools and teachers to find ways to improve

learning, providing cash rewards does give the

state an opportunity to communicate the

depth of its commitment to increasing

student learning. And the data itself is only

useful to the extent that parents, educators

and the community take it seriously