In january of 2013, the Gates foundation released the results of their MET, or Measures of Effective Teaching study. I’ve seen a number of articles written explaining why they think the study is flawed or the results are questionable, but I think there is a very easy way to annhiliate the study findings, and the agenda of the Gates Foundation, with their own results.
Balanced weights indicate multiple aspects of effective teaching. A composite with weights between 33 percent and 50 percent assigned to state test scores demonstrated the best mix of low volatility from year to year and ability to predict student gains on multiple assessments. The composite that best indicated improvement on state tests heavily weighted teachers’ prior student achievement gains based on those same tests. But composites that assigned 33 percent to 50 percent of the weight to state tests did nearly as well and were somewhat better at predicting student learning on more cognitively challenging assessments.
Multiple measures also produce more consistent ratings than student achievement measures alone. Estimates of teachers’ effectiveness are more stable from year to year when they combine classroom observations, student surveys, and measures of student achievement gains than when they are based solely on the latter.
The study was trying to find out to what degree you could use student scores, combined with other evaluation methods, to predict student outcomes. They found that the more they included VAM, or value added measures, into the mix, the less accurate their results were. What they don’t explain is why they include the student test scores in evaluating teachers at all. By their own admission, VAM systems are less accurate for estimating teacher effectiveness with a decent degree of accuracy or “stability” than rating teachers based on classroom observations and student surveys. We found that same problem with the vastly inferior VAM system employed by Louisiana. Basically all the Gates researchers are saying is if you include VAM at no more than 50% of a teacher’s total evaluation then you don’t screw up the numbers too much.
I can pee on a fire and not put it out. The more people peeing on the fire, and the smaller the fire, the more likely the fire will go out. That doesn’t mean peeing on a fire is good for the fire or increases the fire’s heat or fire’s efficiency. Lighter fluid would probably get that fire burning faster and more efficiently, but this study only addressed peeing. The Gates study says we can pee on fires and not put them out, as long as we keep the weeing within a reasonable range in relation to the size of the fire.
Frankly, it’s probably best not to pee on the fire at all.
Yo Bill, there’s teachers down there!
Don’t you care you’re putting their fire out?