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Student Sorting And Teacher Classroom Observations

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I read this paper as saying something different-- that there is a positive but very weak association between observable characteristics of classrooms and student achievement, even growth in student achievement, because the latter is something that teachers and schools have relatively little control over. I linked to the paper briefly as part of this post: https://spottedtoad.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/value-added-modeling-and-behavioral-genetics/

Thank you. As should have long been obvious, the vam portions and the observation portion of evaluations are likely to both be biased against teachers with classrooms of students from generational poverty who have survived extreme trauma. The double whammy of combining the two is an extreme threat to inner city teachers. For instance, in my classrooms, we often had 40% of our class on IEPs - mostly for conduct disorders or serious emotional disturbances - and nearly a quarter on ELLs. The majority of my students had a felony rap, usually fairly minor but often due to home invasions with a gun or something comparable, and many had full-blown mental illness as opposed to mental health issues. Someone transferred in or out every day and attendance was erratic. These problems are worsened by policies that keep teachers from receiving disciplinary backing. And, what happens in years when the students have to attend multiple funerals of classmates and/or family members. But, in places like D.C., evaluators are likely to believe that good teaching looks the same in all sorts of classrooms. I've long asked researchers to conduct an experiment along these lines. First, do the observation according to the standard rubric. Then, brief other evaluators on the type of information I just described. Would they reach the same conclusions on the teachers' instruction? John Thompson

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