Does the system award poor performance?

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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The Jan. 16 issue of Wednesday Journal contained a front page article touting the new reward system for District 97 "gold standard teachers" [D97 leads state in 'gold standard' teachers, News]. The article describes a study that actually shows substandard performance by these teachers. According to the article, board-certified teachers "produce annual learning gains that are about 4-5 percent of normal." This means that for every 100 students, those taught by these special teachers have gains in the bottom 5 percent. In other words, 95% of students perform better without board-certified staff.

Why have we adopted a system that rewards poor performance rather than one that rewards gains at the top end? Or have we adopted a system based on evaluations by math-illiterate or language-illiterate consultants? And how did this get past the D97 administration, the board, the WJ reporter and the editors without any concern for data that does not support the story presented.

When my granddaughter starts D97 next year, should I trust the education she gets and how it is reported to her parents?

Alan Peres

Oak Park

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Bruce Kline  

Posted: February 6th, 2019 11:30 PM

Really? So one SD covers 68% of the data set. So 0.01 SD is .68% of the data set i.e less than 1%. Now of course we would only want the plus side which would be 34% of the data set so ...? This sounds like utter BS to me, and right now I don't have the time to go thru this. I'll say this though. If it's typical "education" research then apriori you know it's total BS. Oh, and just because there is a "measurable" effect - which I assume means it is of statistical significance even though it may be minute - does not in any way mean it is "clinically" significant (or in this case educationally significant).

Jen Purrenhage  

Posted: February 6th, 2019 9:22 PM

Neither, I don't think. The study's summary (which is quoted accurately in the article) phrased it in a way that was unclear. Here's the study: They meant that you get an additional 3-5% of growth, not that you get just 3-5% of normal growth. "Overall, we find that certified teachers are more effective than non-certified teachers with similar experience. The differences in average value-added range from 0.01-0.05 standard deviations depending on the subject and level. " In short, this certification does have a measurable effect on achievement.

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