by Robin Steinberger | May 4, 2017 3:00 pm
The Charleston County School District implemented a new teacher evaluation system called Value Added Measurements (VAM) in the middle of the school year. VAM evaluates teachers based on various standardized test scores. It is designed to measure individual student progress over the course of the year. VAM is currently being used in North Carolina. Teachers in the Tar Heel State received training in June for the upcoming school year. VAM was implemented in Charleston County midyear with no teacher training to date.
This is so typical of CCSD. In my 30 years with the district, I saw frequent implementation of new programs and procedures that were quickly abandoned. Imagine the taxpayer money wasted on these capricious, poorly conceived programs. VAM is in this category. The American Education Research Association and the National Academy of Education state that “Value-added models of teacher effectiveness are highly unstable. Researchers have found that teachers’ effectiveness ratings differ substantially from class to class and from year to year.” It is common sense that the readiness and motivation of assigned students will differ from year-to-year. A more concrete evaluation system is needed.
Of course, there are incompetent teachers who need to leave the profession, but a fair evaluation system needs to be implemented that involves giving teachers training in the evaluation being used. This has not happened with VAM, and yet teacher jobs are in jeopardy as they are placed on Professional Growth Plans. 13 principals are being reassigned based on their teacher VAM scores. If there are other reasons for the reassignments, CCSD has not revealed them.
According to Patrick Hayes of Ed First SC, a teacher advocate group, two years of data on student test scores were used to place teachers on Professional Growth Plans, yet this data has never been shared with the teachers. There will be a SC ED First Rally, “Stop Driving Teachers and Principals Away”, on Monday, May 8 at 6 pm at the CCSD administration building at 75 Calhoun Street.
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