Friday, January 30, 2009

Teacher Quality state by state (bad news for RI)

Hit and run post to get discussion going; I'll be back with more analysis. The National Council on Teacher Quality released its state by state assessment of teacher quality, "2008 State Teacher Policy Yearbook," based on a variety of factors: identification of effectiveness, retaining effective teachers, and exiting ineffective teachers.

Link to national study and online data is here. Rhode Island results here.

The report provides a boatload of data that's summarized by overall scores for each state. Just like student's letter grades, these grades are a 10,000 foot snapshot that isn't useful for analysis or improvement. And just like if own kid got an F, I'd likely be dancing around trying to explain and contextualize that grade before I just told you, hey, it's an F. So I'll stop dancing and just tell you: along with the company of the District of Columbia, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, and Vermont, Rhode Island was rated "F." (A list of state's summary scores is here.)

It's key to note that the study was not looking at teacher quality per se; it examined local and state systems to ensure and improve teacher quality. We can't discuss our teacher quality on a comparative or absolute basis because we don't have a system to assess it. Many of our teachers as individuals may be great but we have no way of assessing or understanding that, or creating improvement.

Rhode Island's dismal systemic performance adds fuel for the fire for the many stakeholders (many of who are teachers themselves) demanding a better system to acknowledge their good work and professional growth, to support or eliminate ineffective teachers, and to keep good and great teachers in the system. What steps does RIDE and the districts have in place to gain traction?

More on this to come soon.

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