Show Me the Reports

October 24, 2011 at 8:10 AM Leave a comment

Step 1 in any merit-based compensation program is training around the definition of merit. A template for performance measures and evaluation thereof is shown to the people who will be subject to them. Then the forms are filled out and discussion ensues. At some later date, these criteria are used for actual merit pay. Trust comes from knowing the people and the tool. It is not the basis for signoff on a system to be designed later.

With all the talk about teacher effectiveness and compensation, there must be hundreds of teacher effectiveness reports out there, right? Of course, they are based on well-developed records of student outcomes…which don’t really exist yet either, do they? Please tell me I’m wrong. Show me the reports.

Children learn with outward results; however, they also internalize many things that will manifest themselves later. We will never know all that we have taught them, the good, the bad, or the rest. That is why we look at teacher effectiveness with an eye to process and outcomes. Accordingly, multiple measures have been tossed around with regard to teacher performance. Now it is time for the report designers to just put the templates out there and validate them.

Similarly, children take tests to show what they have learned, their ability to analyze and solve problems. Children also demonstrate their habits of learning, their creativity and industriousness, and their civic mindedness. All will contribute to a foundation for lifelong learning. Additional measures that document intellectual and psychosocial development track their successful growth toward adulthood as well as highlighting need for intervention. Schools have built databases that cover some of these elements, but the models are not robust enough to be fully instructive or actionable. Still, it is time to print them and share them.

Absent good data, the debate over student outcomes and teacher effectiveness is being held in moot court. It is time for demonstration projects to reveal themselves and share what they have got, warts and all. Be prepared for flak, but don’t be surprised if you get more than a bit of praise from real reformers. We all need something tangible to turn this discussion into a problem with a solution.

Prior posts…on teacher effectiveness…on basic student data…on psychosocial development


Entry filed under: Issues and Ideas, School Transformation, Student Outcomes, Teacher Effectiveness.

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