What form of accountability is driving teachers out of the classroom?
Teachers choose the teaching profession because of their love of children and their subject; or at least we hope so!
Respondents [said] that meetings with administrators and other “experts” to discuss data have replaced teacher-led collaboration.
The Network for Public Education – an advocacy group (in Arizona, USA) whose goal is to fight to protect, preserve and strengthen the school system – commissioned a study and survey in the winter of 2015 to learn more about the impact of teacher evaluation on the education profession. The survey asked educators about the impact of evaluation on their work, their students, and the culture of their schools.
Over the course of a few weeks, 2,964 teachers and principals from 48 states responded.
One the 6 headlines recommends this:
We recommend an immediate halt to the use of test scores as any part of teacher evaluation.”
Comparisons to UK:
In a series of six posts, I’d like to share the key findings and consider the implications and/or differences to the system in the United Kingdom.
In the UK and USA, far too many educators are leaving the classroom.
Headlines report teacher shortages in nearly every sector and area of the UK and USA. One factor reported in almost every story, is the discouragement teachers feel from a reform movement – highlighted by Pasi Sahlberg, author of Finnish Lessons and in the book, Flip The System by Jelmer Evers and Rene Kneyber.
‘Education is threatened on a global scale by forces of neoliberalism, through high stakes accountability, privatization and a destructive language of learning. In all respects, a GERM (Global Education Reform Movement) has erupted from international benchmark rankings such as PISA …’
The demotivation and pressure on teachers dramatically increased with the inclusion of student test scores in teacher evaluations, with some USA states using them to account for as much as 50% of evaluation scores. How much of this is true in performance related pay in the United Kingdom?
When combined with frameworks, rubrics, and high-stake consequences, the nature of teacher evaluation has dramatically changed, and narratives from educators in all sectors say that it has changed for the worse.
“More time is spent on data than actual collaboration of strategies. Professional development is usually irrelevant to teaching, [but is] relevant for data.”
In the first of six recommendations, “the use of student test scores for evaluating teachers is fundamentally invalid and unreliable” is highlighted.
It has a damaging effect on the relationships between teachers and students, and between teachers and administrators. It incentivizes “teaching to the test,” thereby narrowing the rich curriculum that our students deserve. We recommend an immediate halt to the use of test scores as any part of teacher evaluation.
On page 9 ‘Teaching to the Tests’ the report highlights that:
Teachable moments are viewed as wasted time if they do not improve test scores, even when these moments are often the lessons most meaningful to students.”
- How similar are these headlines for teachers working in the UK? In other parts of the world?
- Are teachers working in high-stakes accountability? If so, share an example in the comment section below.
- Should teacher performance be evaluated? If so, what should be evaluated, why and how?
- How does performance related pay operate in your school?
- How much of any decision for you to progress, rests on tests and data, or has the decision considered a wider range of evidence?
- Is this decision reliable and/or valid?
Please leave your answers in the comments section below.