The question we asked this week in the ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll addresses one of the hottest topics in education right now—teacher evaluation and the degree to which student achievement (and student test scores) should be factored into these evaluations.
The national movement to improve teacher evaluation grew out of the reform efforts of the Obama administration, which has used its $4 billion Race to the Top competition and waivers to the federal No Child Left Behind law to encourage states to change how teachers are assessed. The recent teacher strike in Chicago was due in part to a contract dispute about the extent to which student test scores should be used to rate a teacher’s performance. In that case, the teachers were dissatisfied with the Chicago Public School contract that called for 35 percent of a teacher’s evaluation to be based on student achievement. The eventual agreement called for the percent to be reduced to 30 percent, with some other details that referenced new teachers.
Sixty percent of the ASCD SmartBrief readers who responded to this poll work in districts where teacher evaluation is based on value-added or student achievement measures. This percent is likely to grow as many districts across the United States are slowly rolling in these measures. Of those educators whose districts currently use these measures, half of the districts base 31–50 percent of their teacher evaluation on student achievement or data, with an equal percent selecting 31–40 percent or 41–50 percent. Second, there is a strong percent (a quarter) whose district’s system bases less than 20 percent of their teacher evaluation on student achievement. Very few districts place more than 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation on student achievement data.
This survey question was included in ASCD SmartBrief, a daily education news roundup e-newsletter, which has 217,000 subscribers. Using ED Pulse, the weekly online poll, data was collected from 469 readers, starting on September 20, 2012. Online surveys do not provide a random sample, as participants are self-selected, meaning that a margin of sampling error cannot be calculated or quoted. In addition, the population and sample are limited to those with access to computers and an online network. However, online surveys have been shown to produce results that have proven to be reliable predictors of outcomes, including election results.
If you have a question on education that you would like to see addressed in a future ED Pulse poll, feel free to submit it in the comment section below, along with any other comments.