Tag Archives: Teacher Performance

Is classroom practice the missing ingredient in teacher training?

4 Oct

Moi wrote in Teacher credentials: ‘Teacher Performance Assessment’:

Because teacher training programs will be evaluated by the National Council on Teacher Quality, there is interest in examining how teachers are prepared. See, Building Better Teachers http://www.nctq.org/p/edschools/home.jsp Amy Hetzner and Becky Vevea of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel have written the article, How Best to Educate Future Teachers which is part of a series

Alverno College, the small women’s college on Milwaukee’s south side, has been widely cited as a national model for training teachers, thanks to its combination of clinical and classroom experience and use of video and other tools to evaluate whether graduates are meeting the standards for what makes a good teacher….

Key elements of an excellent teacher education program:

  • Strong content knowledge, teaching skills. Future teachers gain a solid grounding in the content to be taught as well as how to teach it.

  • Flexible methods. Emphasis is placed on teaching diverse learners – knowing how to differentiate teaching to reach a broad range of students.

  • Fieldwork. Coursework clearly is connected to fieldwork. The clinical experience, like in medical school, consists of intensive student-teaching, preferably for a semester or entire year, under the supervision of an experienced mentor.

  • Professional mentors. Mentors observe future teachers in the classroom – sometimes videotaping for later analysis – and work with them on everything from lesson-planning and creating assignments to monitoring student progress and grading.

  • Designated “learning schools.” Mentors and school sites for student-teaching are well-chosen. There are close relationships and a sense of joint responsibility among the school sites at which future teachers train, the local district and the teacher-education program.

  • Escalating teaching responsibilities. Future teachers gradually take over a full classroom, first teaching short segments on a single topic with a small group of students, then co-teaching with the mentor before assuming full responsibility for a class.

  • Feedback. Feedback from multiple sources (mentors, professors, peers) is routine.

  • Selective admission standards. Admission to the program is selective; not everyone has the necessary skills or demeanor to be an effective teacher.

Sources: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education; faculty at Columbia University Teachers College, Stanford and Harvard Universities. Compiled by Justin Snider of The Hechinger Report

These are the elements that have made the graduates of Alverno College successful. https://drwilda.com/2012/07/31/teacher-credentials-teacher-performance-assessment/

Jay Mathews has written an interesting Washington Post article, Why teacher training fails our teachers:

American public elementary and secondary schools spend about $20 billion a year on what is called professional development — helping teachers do their jobs better. Many teachers will tell you much of that is a waste of time and money.

Now, three former teachers involved in training have discovered an important reason. Teachers are rarely given time and opportunity to practice what they have learned.

Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better,” is the new book by Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway and Katie Yezzi exposing this flaw in teacher training and the way most of us learn any complex skill. Professional athletes know the value of repeating moves again and again before the game starts. Michael Jordan was famous for how much time he spent practicing in the gym, even after he became a superstar…

For teachers, the authors of “Practice Perfect” say, pre-game repetition is crucial. “If a teacher’s performance during a given class is less than what she wanted, she cannot get it back,” they say. “She cannot as, say, a lawyer working on a contract might do, stop in the middle of her work and call someone to ask for advice. She can’t give it her best shot and then, as we are doing as we write this book, go back and tinker and revise and have the luxury of being held accountable for a final product that reflects actions taken and reconsidered over an extended period….”

They learned this only recently after analyzing the results of a study of great teachers in high-poverty public schools, reported in Lemov’s previous best-selling book, “Teach Like a Champion.” The teachers with the best results “were often the most likely to focus on small and seemingly mundane aspects of their daily work.” The authors liken this to legendary basketball coach John Wooden, who went so far as to teach players how to put their socks on correctly. But the insight did not immediately illumine the importance of practice….

The authors realized that their trainees hadn’t practiced. It was the equivalent of trying to learn a new backhand in the middle of a match at center court Wimbledon.

They added repetitive exercises to their training workshops. Teachers played students so the situation would resemble a real classroom. Teachers still had trouble getting it right. The real world situation was too distracting, The authors dialed down the student disruption so their trainees had a chance to do the technique correctly several times. Once it became automatic, they could handle unpredictable moments….

In the future, schools will still often spend big money on training teachers in ineffective ways. Learning to practice, this book vividly illustrates, takes time and effort, trial and error. It won’t happen tomorrow. But even a small movement in the direction of more practice will reap benefits, in teaching and many other things we do. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/class-struggle/post/why-teacher-training-fails-our-teachers/2012/10/03/f88d470a-0c56-11e2-bb5e-492c0d30bff6_blog.html

Every child has a right to a good basic education. In order to ensure that every child has a good basic education, there must be a quality teacher in every classroom.


National Council on Teacher Quality

How I was evaluated as a first-year teacher – 10/04/2012

A first year teacher, ripe for feedback and improvement, gets none.

What’s the Latest on Teacher Evaluation? – 10/02/2012

We’ve got the skinny on what states are doing to evaluate their teachers and award them tenure. Read more

2011 State Teacher Policy Yearbook

January 2012

State of the States: Trends and Early Lessons on Teacher Evaluation and Effectiveness Policies

October 2011

State of the States 2012: Teacher Effectiveness Policies

October 2012

Center for Teaching Quality http://www.teachingquality.org/

The National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality http://www.tqsource.org/


Linda Darling-Hammond on teacher evaluation https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/linda-darling-hammond-on-teacher-evaluation/

Report: Measuring teacher effectiveness https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/report-measuring-teacher-effectiveness/

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National Education Policy Brief: Designing teacher evaluations

25 Sep

Teacher evaluation is a hot topic. Moi wrote in Report: Measuring teacher effectiveness:

Public Impact has a produced a report, Measuring Teacher Effectiveness: A Look “Under the Hood” of Teacher Evaluation in 10 Sites which examines teacher evaluation efforts in three states. So, how is teacher effectiveness measured? Well, kids know good teaching when they see it. Donna Gordon Blankinship of AP reports in the Seattle Times article, How Do You Find An Effective Teacher? Ask A Kid

Adults may be a little surprised by some of the preliminary findings of new research on what makes a great teacher.

How do you find the most effective teachers? Ask your kids. That’s one of four main conclusions of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its research partners after the first year of its Measures of Effective Teaching Project.

Preliminary results of the study were posted online Friday; a more complete report is expected in April, according to the foundation….

The first four conclusions of the study are as follows:

-The average student knows effective teaching when he or she experiences it.

-In every grade and every subject, a teacher’s past success in raising student achievement on state tests is one of the strongest predictors of his or her ability to do so again.

-The teachers with the highest value-added scores on state tests, which show improvement by individual students during the time they were in their classroom, are also the teachers who do the best job helping their students understand math concepts or demonstrate reading comprehension through writing.

-Valid feedback does not need to come from test scores alone. Other data can give teachers the information they need to improve, including student opinions of how organized and effective a teacher is….

See,Students Know Good Teaching When They Get It, Survey Finds https://drwilda.com/2012/06/13/report-measuring-teacher-effectiveness/

Dr William Mathis of the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education has written a policy brief which focuses on teacher evaluation.

Here is the press release for Research-Based Options for Education Policy Making:

New Brief Offers Suggestions for Teacher Evaluation Design


William J. Mathis, (802) 383-0058, wmathis@sover.net

URL for this press release: http://tinyurl.com/9x5wrws

BOULDER, CO (September 20, 2012) –The first in a new series of two-page briefs summarizing the state of play in education policy research offers suggestions for policymakers designing teacher evaluation systems.

The paper is written by Dr. William Mathis, managing director of the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education.

Mathis summarizes research findings on the effects of teacher evaluation systems, including unintended as well as intended consequences. At a time when teacher evaluation controversies in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and other school districts have erupted—particularly over the issue of evaluations based in part on the growth of students’ test scores—understanding the evidence about these issues has taken on new urgency.

Mathis counsels that lawmakers should be wary of approaches based in large part on test scores, because of three problems:
1.      The measurement error is large—which results in many teachers being incorrectly labeled as effective or ineffective;
2.      Given that only certain grade levels and subject areas are tested, relevant test scores are not available for most teachers; and
3.      The incentives created by the high-stakes use of test scores drive undesirable teaching practices such as curriculum narrowing and teaching to the test.

Instead, he advocates systems like peer assistance and review (PAR) that de-emphasize test scores. Such systems are more labor intensive but that have “far greater potential to enrich instruction and improve education.” He also advocates balancing summative, high-stakes assessment systems “with formative approaches that identify strengths and weaknesses of teachers and directly focus on developing and improving their teaching.”

In any case, “Given the extensive range of activities, skills, and knowledge involved in teachers’ daily work, the system’s goals must be clear, explicit and reflect practitioner involvement,” Mathis says.

This two-page brief is part of Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking, a multipart brief that takes up a number of important policy issues and identifies policies supported by research. Each section focuses on a different issue, and its recommendations to policymakers are based on the latest scholarship.

Find William Mathis’s brief on the NEPC website at:

The mission of the National Education Policy Center is to produce and disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence.  For more information on the NEPC, please visit http://nepc.colorado.edu/.

This brief is also found on the GLC website at http://www.greatlakescenter.org/


William J. Mathis

September 20, 2012

Research-Based Options for Education Policy Making is a 10-part brief that takes up important policy issues and identifies policies supported by research.  Each section focuses on a different issue, and its recommendations for policymakers are based on the latest scholarship. 


Section 1:  Teacher Evaluation.  After reviewing different types of evaluative methods, Mathis points out the importance of using a combination of methods, of including all stakeholders in decision-making about evaluation systems, and of investing in the evaluation system

Section 2:  Common Core State Standards    

Section 3:  Preschool Education

Section 4:  Effective School Expenditures

Section 5:  Funding Formulas and Choice

Section 6:  English Language Learners Parent Involvement

Section 7:  Dropout Strategies

Section 8:  21st Century College and Career Ready

Section 9:  LGBT Safety Policies

Section 10:  Detracking

Policy Brief Download

The Center has produced a report, which focuses on teacher evaluation.Teacher Evaluation  Proper evaluation seems to be key to both addressing many problems teacher tenure was developed to protect from faulty evaluation of a teacher and to improve the quality of those in the teaching profession. Evaluation is just one component, however. New teachers need a proper induction into the profession and mentors to help them hone their skills and methods of teaching. If problems emerge, teachers need proper training and coaching to progress.


Study: Teacher merit pay works in some situations https://drwilda.com/2012/07/27/study-teacher-merit-pay-works-in-some-situations/

Manhattan Institute study: Evidence that ‘value-added modeling’ may be effective                                                         https://drwilda.com/2012/09/08/manhattan-institute-study-evidence-that-value-added-modeling-may-be-effective/

The attempt to evaluate teacher colleges is getting nasty  https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/523/

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