Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What's All That Buzz?


Recently, the Los Angeles Times published a database of value-added teacher ratings. The database was comprised of 6,000 Los Angeles elementary school teachers adn 470 elementary schools. Teachers' value-added ratings are based on students' progress on the California Standards Tests for math and English. The "value" that a teacher adds to the student is defined as the difference between a student's expected growth and their actual performance on the exams. Value-added for schools is based on all the students' performance tested over a certain period. The Los Angeles Times published these ratings because they believe that parents and the public have a right to this information. There has been a lot of debate in the past days on the accuracy of the ratings. Teacher unions are against using test scores for the evaluations and were planning to protest in front of the Los Angeles Times. The Obama administration supports "greater transparency" in schools and wants to expand teacher evaluations across the country.

For more information, please visit the Los Angeles Times and The Economist.

What do you think? Are these evaluations a good idea? Is it fair to use test scores as their basis? What other methods do you propose are better for evaluating teachers? Post your opinions on our forum.

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