Sunday, August 5, 2012

A framework for Kentucky teaching

Kentucky's new Professional Growth and Evaluation System (PGES) is being designed around five major domains of strong teaching:
  1. Planning and Preparation
  2. Classroom Environment
  3. Instruction
  4. Professional Responsibilities
  5. Student Growth
For the first four items, the design is building on Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching, using the 2011 edition.  Ms. Danielson is a widely respected expert on effective teaching and on the creation of evaluation systems that can identify teaching quality and encourage growth.  

The last item, Student Growth, will require careful Kentucky-specific design work.  It's easy to imagine comparing test data from one year to another to decide how much a particular teacher added to student achievement--but it's actually very hard to make that happen. Some reasons:
  • Kentucky's new assessment system can produce year-to-year comparison data for reading and mathematics in six of the thirteen K-12 grades: grades 4-8, using grade 3 scores as a starting point, plus grade 11 by comparing that year's ACT scores to the previous grade's Plan results.  That means that most grades and most subjects need another solution.
  • Matching teachers with students can be surprisingly difficult.  If a student changes schools two months before testing, is the old teacher or the new one responsible?  What if the switch happens two days before the test?  Even within a school, students may switch classes for many reasons, and the student data system may not be quite up to date on which changes have been made.
  • Small numbers can yield weak data.  In general, the more students are tested, the more confidence testing experts have in the results.  Data on thousands of students will be more trusted than data on hundreds, which is why state and school accountability calculations are fairly sturdy.  An individual teacher may have just two dozen students, making it very uncertain whether a particular set of results represent that person's overall effectiveness well.  For students with disabilities, class sizes can be even smaller, and the needed learning approaches can be hugely different from one student to the next.
To tackle these challenges, the Teacher Effectiveness Steering Committee is looking at ways for teachers and principals themselves to take the lead in identifying appropriate measures where test data is not a good option.

This earlier post shares the basics of how and why PGES is being developed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Updates and data on Kentucky education!