Am I willing to determine the effectiveness of a teacher based on this chart?
It is a good chart. It provides me with a lot of data. It measures a student's growth from the beginning of the year to the end of the year - an important and worthwhile bit of information.
This specific chart shows the math achievement of a group of first graders. The overwhelming majority of these first grade students ended up in the high achievement/high growth quadrant.
A couple were in the low achievement/high growth quadrant.
Again - very good! While achievement is not quite where it needs to be these students did show growth over the course of the year.
Two students were in the high achievement/low growth section of this chart.
That is the mixed-bag area. Clearly these students perform above grade level but they did not make the desired growth.
Does that mean this teacher failed these students?
I can create a chart like this for every teacher in my district for math and reading achievement. The question is - does it really tell me all I need to know about a teacher?
I don't think it does.
Student achievement is important. Parents send their sons and daughters to the schools in my district because they expect that students will learn.
I need to be able to determine if students are learning.
A chart like this gives me information.
But is it the right and only information?
The simple answer is no! This is not the right and only information that I need to determine a teacher's effectiveness.
But some would argue that I am wrong. Some would argue that this is indeed all I need to know about a teacher.
Did the students learn?
Did they make progress?
If I have the answers to those questions, some would argue, I have all the information I need to determine if the teacher is worth keeping.
I don't believe that!
Clearly I need some information on whether students are learning.
But I need lots of other information on a teacher.
I need to know if a teacher can engage students in meaningful learning.
I need to know if a teacher can inspire students.
I need to know if a teacher can tell when a student is upset and if that teacher takes the time to reach out to that student.
I need to know if a teacher uses instructional strategies that make learning interesting.
I need to know if a teacher knows how to give one kid a push forward and another student more time.
I need to know if a teacher reaches out to parents in meaningful ways to create a great partnership between school and home.
I need to know if a teacher is a good colleague, willing to work with others and find solutions to problems.
I need to know if a teacher works within the rules, following rules when needed, challenging rules when it is called for.
Being an effective teacher is not just about getting every student to have a high test score.
Being an effective teacher is not just about making sure the end-of-the-year test results show everyone in the high achievement/high growth quadrant.
Being an effective teacher doesn't all come down to one chart at the end of year.