Stephen Sawchuck Asks: Do Evaluations Punish Teachers of Needy Students?

Evaluations are deeply affected by factors beyond the teacher’s control. As a teacher of students who consistently earn low test scores, VAM and test-based teacher evaluations have always concerned me. Thankfully, Vermont doesn’t evaluate teachers via test scores, and hopefully they never will.  Need more information on this topic?  Read this from the Washington Post.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Stephen Sawchuck notes in his blog at Education Week that a pattern is emerging from teacher evaluation programs: The highest ratings go disproportionately to teachers of advantaged students and the lowest ratings to teachers of students who are disadvantaged. He wonders whether this suggests that the ratings systems are biased against those who teach the neediest students or does it suggest that the schools with high numbers of disadvantaged students get the worst teachers.

I am reminded of the joint statement released a few years ago by the American Educational Research Association and the National Academy of Education, which predicted that those who taught the neediest students would get the lowest ratings because of factors beyond their control. Their schools are apt to get less resources than they need and have larger classes than is beneficial to students. It may have fewer science labs and computers. Its students are…

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