How the U.S. government is actually evaluating teachers (not just telling states how to do it)
Many school reformers and their critics have long been at odds over using student standardized test scores as an important way to tease out a teacher’s “value” in student achievement. The methods used to do this don’t work for individual teachers, but they became popular anyway as part of the Obama administration’s Race to the Top initiative, which allowed states to win federal funds by enacting certain reforms, including such educator assessment systems. It turns out that the federal government is now doing more than trying to dictate to states how to evaluate teachers. This is about federal workers actually evaluating teachers — and using the scores to close down Head Start programs and eliminate jobs.
I have recently published two posts about the Classroom Assessment Scoring System, known as CLASS, an assessment that supposedly measures the quality of teacher-child interactions across three major domains: emotional support, classroom organization and instructional support. It was developed for use in research, program planning and evaluation, professional development and supervision, and program accountability. But now the federal government is using the scores for “accountability” purposes to the point where Head Start programs can lose funding if their scores are just a fraction too low.
There is now a move being spearheaded by some U.S. lawmakers to urge the administration to reform the system that allows CLASSscores to have such an important role in program assessment.