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Students will grade teachers in new evaluation method

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In a role reversal of who’s grading whom, students will play a part in evaluating their teachers for a new state initiative beginning in January.

The Georgia Department of Education is piloting a teacher evaluation system in 26 districts, including Richmond County, to measure how teacher effectiveness affects student achievement.

Richmond County teachers are accustomed to being evaluated in the past from a previous rubric, but the standards now take into account student opinion, student academic growth and how principals rate a teacher’s instruction based on 10 performance standards.

In January, the pilot program will launch in only five Richmond County schools, while all of the district’s teachers will go under the evaluation in the 2012-13 school year.

“It’s going to be a reflective tool,” said Missoura Ashe, the executive director for elementary schools. “If we don’t address ineffective teaching, we’ll never grow.”

The state is introducing the evaluations to fulfill the requirements of the federal Race to the Top grant, from which Georgia received $400 million for school reform. Richmond County will receive about 16 million from the pot.

In the 2013-14 school year, the evaluations will determine performance-based pay for teachers, although its still unclear whether grades will affect salaries or monetary supplements, according to Race to the Top communications director Jon Rogers.

Rogers said the evaluation system will be more specific than what most districts now use, so that instruction methods can be fully scrutinized and improved.

“Currently, teachers are labeled either satisfactory or unsatisfactory, so I think everyone agrees the system has to be improved,” Rogers said. “We want to provide more constructive feedback for teachers and principals to say ‘Hey, this is where they’re doing great, this is where they need to improve.’ ”

In classes and grades that have standardized testing, like math and reading, teachers will be graded on their students’ growth and achievement gap reduction on those tests. For subjects like chorus that are not state tested, schools will design pre- and -post tests to measure student growth, Ashe said.

In their opinion surveys, students will anonymously grade their teachers on areas such as how much they know about the subject and how well they communicate. For lower grades, pupils will address questions like “My teacher explains things so I can understand” with smiley or sad faces. The higher grades will answer questions on a five-point agree to disagree scale, which might give teachers a brand-new outlook on how they are perceived by students.

“Students are in the classroom, so who’s better to talk about the teacher’s practices than them?” Ashe said. “Teachers will really be able to reflect, and say ‘Wow, I didn’t know my students thought that way.’ ”

For the principals’ evaluation piece, the administrators will observe teachers twice over the year for 30 minutes each. They will use a rubric of 10 standards, ranging from how well they communicate to their instruction strategies.

Jamie McCord, the principal at Jamestown Elementary School, said teachers are not afraid of the evaluations because it will give them direction on how to grow.

Although being under the microscope is stressful, McCord said her teachers have gotten used to the old methods of evaluation and many see it as a way to become better for their students.

“We want to be excellent in everything, so if I have excellent teachers my students are going to be excellent,” McCord said.

Jamestown is one of the five pilot schools to test the evaluations along with Glenn Hills Middle, Morgan Road Middle, C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet and Academy of Richmond County. The schools, like all the pilot schools in the 26 districts, were chosen at random by the state.

Despite the benefits, evaluations often spark intense debate among educators for their accuracy and fairness. Race to the Top teacher-lead adviser Katherine Wood, whose job is to give a teachers’ opinion amid Race to the Top implementation, said the evaluations still give important insight.

“The more perspective on a teacher that we can get, the better,” Wood said. “To have student perception, to have the observations and for the student growth to be taken into account, it paints a bigger picture.”

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Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 12/09/11 - 10:27 pm
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Oh, boy. You know, it's one

Oh, boy. You know, it's one thing for us adults to reflect and evaluate our boss, but it's an entirely different thing for immature children to pass along their personal feelings about the person who is making them do homework or have just given them a bad grade on a test. It may make the children think they have input, but it's not a good idea to have this sort of thing weigh too heavily on whether a teacher's evaluation is tipped one way or the other. For example, even many, many years later, I had a one-time STAR teacher who I considered a complete jerk and didn't "appreciate" at all. The man was a STAR teacher, yet he and I just didn't get along. Would it had been right for me to pass that type of judgement on the man? Well, I'll wait by the phone and let these folks know my opinion when they call me for it! LOL!

KSL
129962
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KSL 12/09/11 - 10:35 pm
0
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Good grief. Give me another

Good grief. Give me another reason for not wanting to ever live in Georgia again! Reared by inferior parents, or should I say parent, the child will have the decision in his/her hands? What idiot came up with this plan

Bruno
780
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Bruno 12/09/11 - 10:39 pm
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Dumbest idea ever. The

Dumbest idea ever. The students don't have the skills, reason or critical thinking skills to make a valid evaluation of the teachers.

KSL
129962
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KSL 12/09/11 - 11:02 pm
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And they are not exactly

And they are not exactly disinterested evaluators. Geez, Georgia, what are you thinking?

aubaug
62
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aubaug 12/09/11 - 11:39 pm
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Teachers, teach. Students

Teachers, teach. Students are in school to learn. School systems need to stop spending taxpayers' money on this junk. Students do NOT need to be spending their time on teacher evaluation instruments. Students need to focus on learning from K-12; not the mall, TV, their cell phones, Facebook, teacher evaluations,or other distractions in their lives. Parents need to insure that this is the case. Teachers are doing their job from 8:00 AM until 3:00 PM. Currently, in the United States, students and parents are NOT taking their responsibility from 3:00 PM until 8:00 AM the next morning or over the weekend. Students and parents need to realize that in order to have a wonderful life, students must work hard for the first 20 years of their lives when learning takes place. If they play during those first 20 years, they will suffer and work hard for the next 60 years. The choice is theirs! And parents are responsible for making them learn and focus primarily on their education during these formative years.

KSL
129962
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KSL 12/10/11 - 06:31 am
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Under no circumstances do

Under no circumstances do students need to be evaluating teachers. In times past I would say the parents needed to be able to do that. But no longer.

RunningMan
346
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RunningMan 12/10/11 - 07:04 am
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It will not last. You simply

It will not last. You simply cannot expect a fair evaluation from students who would probably rather be somewhere else than school. If the teacher is strict, as some will probably need to be, the students will want to give that teacher a bad evaluation. The feedback from the students will simply be based on other factors other than how effective the teacher is at presenting the information. If you ask my daughters, my wife and I was too strict and didn't allow certain things when they were in school, but now that they are adults, they can appreciate our parenting style and realizes it helped them very much. It will be interesting to see how the evaluation is written, and what type questions it will focus on. The teachers, just like the government is not always the problem when it comes to the performance of students. We must look for answers within first, and if we have done our part, only then should we look elsewhere for answers.

seenitB4
87385
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seenitB4 12/10/11 - 07:14 am
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More federal $$ spent on this

More federal $$ spent on this study-how crazy can we be...pleeeeze get the nonesense out of teaching & put some good ole common sense in again.......or is it too late..:(

seenitB4
87385
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seenitB4 12/10/11 - 07:21 am
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0
Some of the stupid things the

Some of the stupid things the school system does...

Bus kids across town & away from neighborhood schools..
Put unruly--weapon toting punks in alternative schools?? (jailmaybe)
Permit kids to spit-attack-punch teachers when they should be kicked to the curb & left for parents to deal with their problems..

Now.....kids grading teachers....I could never be a teacher in todays world...not even for $100,000 a year.

nothin2show4it
120
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nothin2show4it 12/10/11 - 07:41 am
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More educational decay to
Unpublished

More educational decay to follow... Teacher will now have to pander to the child... What government funded PHD thought this up? More private schools to open and widen the gap between the rich and poor. You loving this change yet?

Riverman1
84122
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Riverman1 12/10/11 - 08:24 am
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SeenIt, I don't know about

SeenIt, I don't know about that. I sure wish I could have graded Miss Wade my 5th grade teacher somehow. That woman gave me nightmares for decades, caused me to drink too much, divorce 3 wives, lose 7 jobs and end up a chronic Chronicle chronicler.

seenitB4
87385
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seenitB4 12/10/11 - 08:31 am
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RM...You are just a news

RM...You are just a news junkie just like Brad.....& you just can't help it...plus this gives you an outlet & a LOT of attention!! :)

Riverman1
84122
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Riverman1 12/10/11 - 08:44 am
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SeenIt, Ms. Wade, my 5th

SeenIt, Ms. Wade, my 5th grade teacher seriously used to make me think bad things. Heh. So my point is if I were a principal, I'd look at evaluations like that. As far as comparing me to Brad, that's a compliment. As far as seeking attention. Ha..who me?

allhans
23676
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allhans 12/10/11 - 09:06 am
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I THINK that a teacher will

I THINK that a teacher will have a lot of "teacher's pets".
Oh man..Imagine having to play up to an unruly bunch of kids.

southern2
6153
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southern2 12/10/11 - 09:17 am
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While we're at it, let's let

While we're at it, let's let inmates rate their prison warden and Marine recruits rate their Drill Sergeant.

Riverman1
84122
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Riverman1 12/10/11 - 09:23 am
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Southern2, I can speak for at

Southern2, I can speak for at least one major Army Command and they do have ratings just like that in a survey of sorts. It may be Army wide, I'm not sure. It doesn't mention the supervisor by name, but you are known and your unit is identified and so on and questions about the leadership are asked. It's obviously used to rate the supervisors.

There are questions like, "Are you afraid to point out wrongs to your supervisor?"

"Does your supervisor try to corrcct problems brough to him or does he seem he would rather not hear about it?"

seenitB4
87385
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seenitB4 12/10/11 - 09:31 am
0
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southern...I was thinking the

southern...I was thinking the same thing...:)

Cocomommy
51
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Cocomommy 12/10/11 - 09:48 am
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Students are no more capable

Students are no more capable of evaluating teacher effectiveness than a patient is capable of evaluating the effectiveness of a surgeon's work. In other words, there are a multitude of ways to evaluate teacher effectiveness that do not include surveying flippant and hormonal children and teenagers. This would be like asking a patient, just from the way they feel, if they feel that their surgeon did a good job. What happened to the periodic summative assessments that actually evaluate a teacher's effectiveness based on student learning and understanding? Why is our state not working to improve the effectiveness of those evaluations? I would hope that the state deems creating and implementing more rigorous state assessments as a more pressing matter than asking children if they felt like their teacher did a good job. Here's an idea, why don't the big buck administrators in the state go into the classrooms themselves unannounced to evaluate these teachers at length for an extended period of time rather than pushing the work off on children of all people. Just wondering where my tax money is going exactly, and the reasoning behind it.

tinytuna
74
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tinytuna 12/10/11 - 09:54 am
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0
What next?

What next?

seenitB4
87385
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seenitB4 12/10/11 - 09:59 am
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Do you know what would put

Do you know what would put the school system on the right track??
Dang sure wouldn't be the stupid tests & questions on surveys ....

We need to put some retired generals in the schools...like Gen.Patton....
no goofing-foolish pranks--& nonesense....
Kick in the hiney would work wonders!

class1
299
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class1 12/10/11 - 11:32 am
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Who is running this ship.

Who is running this ship. You got to be crazy having students evaluate teachers. Teachers are to teach the students not be their friends. In the middle school, they likes the teachers who are their friends, and don't required any work from them.

onevoice
0
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onevoice 12/12/11 - 02:53 pm
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The thinking about student

The thinking about student voice needs to be changed to include the experiences, thoughts and concerns of the people in the room - the students. As a teacher myself, I realize that the students are the ones who ultimately decide if I am or have been "a good teacher." Sometimes, it takes a while and a bit of living for students to understand what that means, but all students - even when h/she doesn't "like" a given teacher, are unbelievably reliable about saying how much value was received from a class. Such input from students typically involves asking questions about whether a student feels included, challenged and respected in a classroom. This sort of information correlates very well with other measures of effectiveness so it's time we learn to accept it. The answer to "who is running this ship?" is "all of us" and we've got to collaborate to find the best ways to achieve our goals. Most importantly, we've got to do this together and that means with students.

Reverie
54
Points
Reverie 12/18/11 - 06:32 pm
0
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I disagree. Onevoice, you

I disagree. Onevoice, you made your case against yourself. Is this new age talk? In some schools, that kind of talk is a sign of weakness, and you will get punked. You expect tax payers to believe that immature children are going to run the ship. Are student's "feelings" part of the pedagogy? This thinking is exactly why the U.S. is falling behind in education! What are these kids going to do when the reality of life sets in? That's right, they can evaluate the stockholders about how they feel when they get laid off. This is a big tough world and these kids need to wise up and learn how to learn and be productive or get out of the way. There are millions lined up who are willing to do the work and who will take what these kids have got. Final point, "Why are the educational administrators (principals, directors, superintendents, state dept., etc.) not evaluated by the employees in a similar fashion?"

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