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Teacher grades leave some with doubts
Saturday, April 12, 2014 5:00 AM
On Wednesday, members of the Indiana State Board of Education called the new teacher evaluation system a failure. Some said tying the evaluations to pay, which could encourage less than honest answers, is one problem.
Imagine a student receiving a report card that indicated that there was no room for improvement ... And practically all of the other students in the class, too.
It would be hard not to be a bit skeptical of a system that produced such results, wouldn't it?
In some quarters, that's the sort of reaction greeting the results of Indiana's first teacher evaluations. According to data released this week, about 88 percent of teachers and administrators statewide were rated as effective or highly effective, with only about 2 percent reported needing improvement.
That's "needs improvement," not "ineffective" - which less than half a percent were found to be.
To be fair, it should also be noted that some schools didn't rank any of their teachers as "highly effective." That' too should raise concerns.
There's understandable concern that these ratings - which are tied to salary increases - may not paint an accurate picture of how educators are performing.
Aside from doing a disservice to students, this is unfair to teachers - the ones who excel as well as the ones who need improvement and would benefit from a fair assessment.
It was state lawmakers who, in 2011, passed a law mandating that each district conduct an annual review for all teachers and administrators, So it's only right that they bear responsiblity for fixing a system that clearly "needs improvement."
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