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Articles: Evaluation

The Obama administration's mounting pressure for states to review their policies for evaluating teacher effectiveness has been met with backlash from education veterans nationwide. A new study released from the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University, however, has just scored one point for advocates of merit pay and reforming teacher tenure. Its findings reveal that teacher effectiveness is not only unrelated to the college the teacher attended, but also that teacher effectiveness peaks after 10 years.

Following the publication of a 2004 report by the Alliance for Excellent Education (Biancarosa & Snow, 2004), the topic of adolescent literacy emerged as an issue of concern. It recently has received increased attention thanks to the latest round of studies and calls for additional federal funding (Cassidy, Valadez, Garrett, & Barrera, 2010).

PROBLEM

Don Tylinski inherited a challenge when he became superintendent of the Seneca Valley (Pa.) School District in 2004. The 7,363-student K12 district located 30 miles north of Pittsburgh was under strain because of the arrival of large new industries in the area, including a new facility of global nuclear power plant builder Westinghouse. "The growth in student population had everyone in the district scrambling. We lost consistency in the curriculum," says Tylinski.

Like other districts with schools that are not meeting adequate yearly progress (AYP) goals for five consecutive years, Hawaii is restructuring its low performing schools as required by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Unlike most other districts, however, Hawaii, a single statewide district, has been doing it for five years with the support of three independent education consulting firms working directly with administrators and teachers in the failing schools.

Seventy-seven percent of high school students nationwide are missing the core benchmarks necessary to prepare them for their first year in college, according to a new study conducted by the research and policy arm of ACT, which conducts curriculum based college entrance exams similar to the SAT.

What constitutes a 21st-century education? The answers vary (Walser, 2008), but 10 states have already adopted the framework used by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (www.21stcenturyskills.org), and more states are preparing to do so. The Partnership’s Framework for 21st Century Learning specifies student outcomes in four areas:

As public elected or selected officials, board members must be accountable to the community. The evaluation instrument is an excellent accountability tool. The board must answer various questions, such as: What are the legal requirements of superintendent evaluation? What is an evaluation's purpose? How can we measure performance? Is an evaluation instrument a measure of growth? How does it serve to improve superintendent-board relations? What is the board's ethical responsibility to the community regarding student learning? What documents are needed to perform the evaluation?

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