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Do teachers matter? Measuring the variation in teacher effectiveness in England

Quality, Teacher performance

Authors:

Helen Slater, HM Treasury

Neil Davies,  Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol

Simon Burgess, CMPO, University of Bristol

January 2009

Working Paper No. 09/212

Centre for Market and Public Organisation
Bristol Institute of Public Affairs
University of Bristol
2 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TX
http://www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/

Introduction

It seems common sense that teachers matter, and that pupils will achieve more with an inspirational teacher than with an average or poor teacher. Anecdotes abound of the transformational effect of excellent teaching. Yet trying to quantify this is difficult, principally because of the data requirements. To a degree, social science research has emphasised family and home rather than teachers and school in the production of human capital. Disentangling the separate contributions of schools, teachers, classes, peers and pupils themselves needs extremely rich and full disaggregate data. Whilst a small number of papers have been able to make progress here, we do not yet have a settled view on the importance of teachers.
Using a unique primary dataset for the UK, we estimate the effect of individual teachers on student outcomes, and the variability in teacher quality. We show that teachers matter a great deal: being taught by a high quality (75th percentile) rather than low quality (25th percentile) teacher adds 0.425 of a GCSE point per subject to a given student, or 25% of the standard deviation of GCSE points. This shows the strong potential for improving educational standards by improving average teacher quality. However, implementing such a policy would not be straightforward, as we also corroborate recent US findings that good teachers are difficult to identify ex ante.
As Rockoff (2004) notes, most of the issues in this field relate to data quality. We use a unique primary dataset that matches a short panel of pupils to a short panel of teachers. We link over 7000 pupils, their exam results and prior attainment to the individual teachers who taught them, in each of their compulsory subjects in the crucial high-stakes exams at age 16. These exams provide access to higher education and are highly valued in the job market.
Our dataset complements and in some ways extends the current leading datasets in this field used by Aaronson, Barrow and Sander (2007) (ABS), Kane, Rockoff and Staiger (2007) (KRS), Rivkin, Hanushek and Kain (2005) RHK and Rockoff (2004) (R). Like ABS and R, but unlike RHK and KRS, we can match a student to her/his actual teacher, rather than to the school-grade average teacher. Unlike ABS, KRS, RHK and R, our context is one of students taking exams that are very important to them and to the school. Unlike ABS, KRS, RHK and R, we exploit the fact that we observe students taking three exams at the same date, allowing us to use a point-in-time student fixed effect, in addition to subject-specific prior attainment. We believe that this allows us to control well for variations in student ability that might otherwise corrupt our measures of teacher effectiveness if students are not randomly assigned to teachers (see Rothstein, 2008). Finally, and also unlike ABS, KRS and RHK, our student-teacher data are matched in and by the school, thus ensuring a high-quality match. Nevertheless, while our data have these advantages relative to existing datasets, there are other issues with our data, and we detail below these short-comings and what we can and cannot estimate.
We show that the standard deviation of teacher effectiveness is 32.6% of a GCSE point, or 18.9% of a standard deviation (1.722 GCSE points), from Table 5 column 1. The lowest bound estimate we have is 28.8% of a GCSE point or 16.7% of the standard deviation. These estimates are in line with those found in the US, which tend to be around a 10% impact on test scores of a unit standard deviation change in teacher quality. Using another metric, teacher effectiveness is about a quarter as variable as pupil effectiveness. However, a teacher’s effectiveness influences the GCSE outcomes of the entire class, and so the teacher’s effectiveness has greater leverage.
The next section reviews the current datasets used and highlights the advantages and disadvantages of ours; we also summarise the results from these studies. Section 3 discusses our own dataset, and section 4 the econometric approach. Section 5 presents the results. In the Conclusion, we discuss the implications of these results for policy on teacher effectiveness, teacher selection, and for the incentivisation of teachers.

To read more: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/publications/papers/2009/wp212.pdf

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TEACHER ABSENCE IN INDIA: A SNAPSHOT

Teacher performance

Authors

Michael Kremer
Harvard University and NBER
Karthik Muralidharan
Harvard University
Nazmul Chaudhury
World Bank
Jeffrey Hammer
World Bank
F. Halsey Rogers
World Bank
 Journal of the European Economic Association (9/15/04)

Abstract
25% of teachers were absent from school, and only about half were teaching, during unannounced visits to a nationally representative sample of government primary schools in India. Absence rates varied from 15% in Maharashtra to 42% in Jharkhand, with higher rates concentrated in the poorer states. We do not find that higher pay is associated with lower absence. Older teachers, more educated teachers, and head teachers are all paid more but are also more frequently absent; contract teachers are paid much less than regular teachers but have similar absence rates; and although relative teacher salaries are higher in poorer states, absence rates are also higher. Teacher absence is more correlated with daily incentives to attend work: teachers are less likely to be absent at schools that have been inspected recently, that have better infrastructure, and that are closer to a paved road. We find little evidence that attempting to strengthen local community ties will reduce absence. Teachers from the local area have similar absence rates as teachers from outside the community. Locally controlled non-formal schools have higher absence rates than schools run by the state government. The existence of a PTA is not correlated with lower absence. Private-school teachers are only slightly less likely to be absent than public-school teachers in general, but are 8 percentage points less likely to be absent than public-school teachers in the same village.

Introduction
This paper presents new nationally representative data on teacher absence from unannounced visits to Indian primary schools. The study covered 20 Indian states, representing 98 percent of the population, or roughly one billion people. Three unannounced visits were made to each of 3700 schools. The survey focused on government-run primary schools, but it also covered rural private schools and private-aided schools located in villages where government schools were surveyed.
Our absence data is from direct physical verification of the teacher’s presence, rather than attendance logbooks or interviews with the head teacher. We consider a teacher to be absent if the investigator could not find the teacher in the school during regular working hours.

Conclusion

With one in four government primary school teachers absent on a given day, and only one in two actually teaching, India is wasting a considerable share of its education budget, and missing an opportunity to educate its children.
While our results show that the system is broken, they can provide only tentative guidance as to how it may be fixed. One way of interpreting our findings is that overall teacher compensation has little effect on absence, since teachers cannot be fired and attendance rates do not affect compensation. On the other hand, factors that influence the daily costs and benefits of attending school have a much larger influence on absence rates. For example, better infrastructure provides a stronger incentive to attend school on a particular day. Similarly, improving monitoring increases the marginal cost of teacher absence. While we find that inspections are associated with lower absence in some specifications, we find little evidence to suggest that greater local ties are associated with lower absence. Teachers in private schools and contract teachers, who face very different incentives, have similar or lower absence rates while being paid a fraction of government teachers’ salaries.
The study suggests it may be worth exploring a variety of potential reforms. These range in political difficulty from improving school infrastructure; to increasing the frequency of inspections; to experimenting with new, potentially more effective forms of local control or contracting with teachers; to such fundamental reforms as increased use of private schools. However, in order to assess the impact of any of these reforms, rigorous randomized evaluations should be put in place. Such evaluations should monitor a range of educational outcomes to ensure that these reforms not only increase the educational input of teacher attendance, but also the fundamental objective of student learning.

To read  more: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DEC/Resources/36660_Teacher_absence_in_India_EEA_9_15_04_-_South_Asia_session_version.pdf

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Ill-qualified teachers, cancelled Paris trip anger DU students

Teacher performance

Vijetha S.N.

The Hindu

04-09-2013

Delhi University’s M. Tech Nuclear Science students, who were anticipating a year in Paris as part of their course and expecting a Rs.3,000-monthly stipend for the remaining two years, have nothing to look forward to now. The students say they have ill-qualified teachers from correspondence and undergraduate colleges, and have to share laboratories with students from other batches.

“The previous four batches of the programme spent their second year in France, as listed in the brochure. In fact, in January of our first year [2012] we were all told to apply to the University of Paris. All of us, except one student, got admission letters. We were then told that because of this one student, none of us could go and we would be taught the same things at DU itself,” said a student. The students do not want to be named individually for fear of victimisation.

At this point, the monthly stipend was also not forthcoming.

“The brochure which said the stipend ‘will’ be paid was apparently changed just before we were admitted to ‘might’ be paid,” said another student, adding that they knocked on all the relevant doors but didn’t get any answers.

“We went to the Vice-Chancellor’s durbar on several occasions but we could never meet him. Initially a deputy proctor told us to write a letter and promised to send it to the Vice-Chancellor. The next time we said we wanted to speak to the V-C, Deputy Dean (Academics) R.K Singh told us that we would not get to meet him. This happened again when two students went to meet Dean Students’ Welfare J.M. Khurana, who simply told them that he would not be able to help us,” said another student.

While Mr. Singh could not be contacted despite repeated attempts, Mr. Khurana confirmed having met the students. He said: “I heard them out, but this is not something which my office can help with. I advised them to have their teacher-in-charge meet the V-C and make a representation.”

The students said the person in-charge has been unresponsive from the beginning and it has been upto them to resolve the issue. Finally, the students took the matter to the High Court and then the Supreme Court. The university, in its submissions to the courts, finally gave them some answers last week, before their petition was dismissed.

The university thought it discriminatory to send only some students to France; it did not want to co-ordinate the same academic programme in two countries; and in light of the declining rupee, it did not have the money to send them to Paris.

However, missing out on Paris is not the sole cause for the students’ concern. “They told us our course would be conducted by teachers experienced in the department of atomic energy, but we heard that there is just one qualified member, from a research centre in Mumbai, who will visit for a month. The classes we attended this term are being conducted by an undergraduate teacher from Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College, who is ill-equipped to teach us plasma physics, and we have another teacher who has taught correspondence courses at Indira Gandhi National Open University. Some of those teaching us are even Ph.D. students from the department. Our laboratory is shared with the third-year students, who have just returned from France.”

Comment

Teachers to meet education secretary

Teacher education and training, Teacher performance

Times of India

31-Jul-2013 :

CHANDIGARH: A seven-member delegation of teachers under the banner of Government Teachers  Union would meet UT finance-cum-education secretary V K Singh on Tuesday, asking him to take a considerate view on the 100 teachers served a show-cause notice by the UT education department for not attending the faculty development programme on July 20.
The teachers had staged a protest outside the school, following which an FIR was lodged against four of them for obstructing the faculty development programme.  Seven of our members will be meeting V K Singh on Tuesday to discuss some pending issues and to request for a sympathetic view on teachers served show-cause notice, so that the matter is resolved and teachers get their focus back on students,a?? said Vinod Sharma, president, Government Teachers Union.
The union has also decided to organize a teachers conference to debate quality education, extending of school timings and faculty development programme among other issues on August 22 at Moti Ram School auditorium in Sector 27. The conference will be attended by principals, educationists and psychologists too.

Comment

The $4 Million Teacher

Teacher performance, Teacher salary

South Korea’s students rank among the best in the world, and its top teachers can make a fortune. Can the U.S. learn from this academic superpower?

Wall Street Journal

August 3, 2013

By AMANDA RIPLEY

Kim Ki-hoon earns $4 million a year in South Korea, where he is known as a rock-star teacher—a combination of words not typically heard in the rest of the world. Mr. Kim has been teaching for over 20 years, all of them in the country’s private, after-school tutoring academies, known as hagwons. Unlike most teachers across the globe, he is paid according to the demand for his skills—and he is in high demand.

Mr. Kim works about 60 hours a week teaching English, although he spends only three of those hours giving lectures. His classes are recorded on video, and the Internet has turned them into commodities, available for purchase online at the rate of $4 an hour. He spends most of his week responding to students’ online requests for help, developing lesson plans and writing accompanying textbooks and workbooks (some 200 to date).

“The harder I work, the more I make,” he says matter of factly. “I like that.”

I traveled to South Korea to see what a free market for teaching talent looks like—one stop in a global tour to discover what the U.S. can learn from the world’s other education superpowers. Thanks in part to such tutoring services, South Korea has dramatically improved its education system over the past several decades and now routinely outperforms the U.S. Sixty years ago, most South Koreans were illiterate; today, South Korean 15-year-olds rank No. 2 in the world in reading, behind Shanghai. The country now has a 93% high-school graduation rate, compared with 77% in the U.S.

Tutoring services are growing all over the globe, from Ireland to Hong Kong and even in suburban strip malls in California and New Jersey. Sometimes called shadow education systems, they mirror the mainstream system, offering after-hours classes in every subject—for a fee. But nowhere have they achieved the market penetration and sophistication of hagwons in South Korea, where private tutors now outnumber schoolteachers.

Viewed up close, this shadow system is both exciting and troubling. It promotes striving and innovation among students and teachers alike, and it has helped South Korea become an academic superpower. But it also creates a bidding war for education, delivering the best services to the richest families, to say nothing of its psychological toll on students. Under this system, students essentially go to school twice—once during the day and then again at night at the tutoring academies. It is a relentless grind.

The bulk of Mr. Kim’s earnings come from the 150,000 kids who watch his lectures online each year. (Most are high-school students looking to boost their scores on South Korea’s version of the SAT.) He is a brand name, with all the overhead that such prominence in the market entails. He employs 30 people to help him manage his teaching empire and runs a publishing company to produce his books.

To call this mere tutoring is to understate its scale and sophistication. Megastudy, the online hagwon that Mr. Kim works for, is listed on the South Korean stock exchange. (A Megastudy official confirmed Mr. Kim’s annual earnings.) Nearly three of every four South Korean kids participate in the private market. In 2012, their parents spent more than $17 billion on these services. That is more than the $15 billion spent by Americans on videogames that year, according to the NPD Group, a research firm. The South Korean education market is so profitable that it attracts investments from firms like Goldman Sachs, the Carlyle Group and A.I.G.

It was thrilling to meet Mr. Kim—a teacher who earns the kind of money that professional athletes make in the U.S. An American with his ambition and abilities might have to become a banker or a lawyer, but in South Korea, he had become a teacher, and he was rich anyway.

The idea is seductive: Teaching well is hard, so why not make it lucrative? Even if American schools will never make teachers millionaires, there are lessons to be learned from this booming educational bazaar, lessons about how to motivate teachers, how to captivate parents and students and how to adapt to a changing world.

To find rock-star teachers like Mr. Kim, hagwon directors scour the Internet, reading parents’ reviews and watching teachers’ lectures. Competing hagwons routinely try to poach one another’s celebrity tutors. “The really good teachers are hard to retain—and hard to manage. You need to protect their egos,” says Lee Chae-yun, who owns a chain of five hagwons in Seoul called Myungin Academy.

The most radical difference between traditional schools and hagwons is that students sign up for specific teachers, so the most respected teachers get the most students. Mr. Kim has about 120 live, in-person students per lecture, but a typical teacher’s hagwon classes are much smaller. The Korean private market has reduced education to the one in-school variable that matters most: the teacher.

It is about as close to a pure meritocracy as it can be, and just as ruthless. In hagwons, teachers are free agents. They don’t need to be certified. They don’t have benefits or even a guaranteed base salary; their pay is based on their performance, and most of them work long hours and earn less than public school teachers.

Performance evaluations are typically based on how many students sign up for their classes, their students’ test-score growth and satisfaction surveys given to students and parents. “How passionate is the teacher?” asks one hagwon’s student survey—the results of which determine 60% of the instructor’s evaluation. “How well-prepared is the teacher?” (In 2010, researchers funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation found classroom-level surveys like this to be surprisingly reliable and predictive of effective teaching in the U.S., yet the vast majority of our schools still don’t use them.) “Students are the customers,” Ms. Lee says. To recruit students, hagwons advertise their results aggressively. They post their graduates’ test scores and university acceptance figures online and outside their entrances on giant posters. It was startling to see such openness; in the U.S., despite our fetish for standardized testing, the results remain confusing and hard to interpret for parents.

Once students enroll, the hagwon embeds itself in families’ lives. Parents get text messages when their children arrive at the academies each afternoon; then they get another message relaying students’ progress. Two to three times a month, teachers call home with feedback. Every few months, the head of the hagwon telephones, too. In South Korea, if parents aren’t engaged, that is considered a failure of the educators, not the family. If tutors get low survey marks or attract too few students, they generally get placed on probation. Each year, Ms. Lee fires about 10% of her instructors. (By comparison, U.S. schools dismiss about 2% of public school teachers annually for poor performance. All of this pressure creates real incentives for teachers, at least according to the kids. In a 2010 survey of 6,600 students at 116 high schools conducted by the Korean Educational Development Institute, Korean teenagers gave their hagwon teachers higher scores across the board than their regular schoolteachers: Hagwon teachers were better prepared, more devoted to teaching and more respectful of students’ opinions, the teenagers said. Interestingly, the hagwon teachers rated best of all when it came to treating all students fairly, regardless of the students’ academic performance.

Private tutors are also more likely to experiment with new technology and nontraditional forms of teaching. In a 2009 book on the subject, University of Hong Kong professor Mark Bray urged officials to pay attention to the strengths of the shadow markets, in addition to the perils. “Policy makers and planners should…ask why parents are willing to invest considerable sums of money to supplement the schooling received from the mainstream,” he writes. “At least in some cultures, the private tutors are more adventurous and client-oriented.”

But are students actually learning more in hagwons? That is a surprisingly hard question to answer. World-wide, the research is mixed, suggesting that the quality of after-school lessons matters more than the quantity. And price is at least loosely related to quality, which is precisely the problem. The most affluent kids can afford one-on-one tutoring with the most popular instructors, while others attend inferior hagwons with huge class sizes and less reliable instruction—or after-hours sessions offered free by their public schools. Eight out of 10 South Korean parents say they feel financial pressure from hagwon tuition costs. Still, most keep paying the fees, convinced that the more they pay, the more their children will learn.

For decades, the South Korean government has been trying to tame the country’s private-education market. Politicians have imposed curfews and all manner of regulations on hagwons, even going so far as to ban them altogether during the 1980s, when the country was under military rule. Each time the hagwons have come back stronger.

“The only solution is to improve public education,” says Mr. Kim, the millionaire teacher, echoing what the country’s education minister and dozens of other Korean educators told me. If parents trusted the system, the theory goes, they wouldn’t resort to paying high fees for extra tutoring.

To create such trust, Mr. Kim suggests paying public-school teachers significantly more money according to their performance—as hagwons do. Then the profession could attract the most skilled, accomplished candidates, and parents would know that the best teachers were the ones in their children’s schools—not in the strip mall down the street.

Schools can also build trust by aggressively communicating with parents and students, the way businesses already do to great effect in the U.S. They could routinely survey students about their teachers—in ways designed to help teachers improve and not simply to demoralize them. Principals could make their results far more transparent, as hagwons do, and demand more rigorous work from students and parents at home in exchange. And teacher-training programs could become far more selective and serious, as they are in every high-performing education system in the world—injecting trust and prestige into the profession before a teacher even enters the classroom.

No country has all the answers. But in an information-driven global economy, a few truths are becoming universal: Children need to know how to think critically in math, reading and science; they must be driven; and they must learn how to adapt, since they will be doing it all their lives. These demands require that schools change, too—or the free market may do it for them.

—Ms. Ripley is an Emerson Fellow at the New America Foundation. This essay is adapted from her forthcoming book, “The Smartest Kids in the World—and How They Got That Way,” to be published Aug. 13 by Simon & Schuster. Copyright © 2013 by Amanda Ripley.

Comment

Performance-related pay in schools ‘may fuel exam fraud’

Performance Pay, Quality, Teacher performance

Telegraph

26 April, 2013

A new system of performance-related pay in schools risks fueling a rise in fraud as teachers attempt to falsify pupils’ results to win salary rises, lawyers warned today.

Teachers could be tempted to “over-egg” children’s work to prove they are doing a good job, it was claimed.

The proposals will also lead to major employment disputes within schools as teachers lodge official discrimination claims after failing to receive higher pay.

The comments came after the publication of Government guidance last week that suggested teachers should be denied pay rises for failing to improve pupils’ exam results, keep order in the classroom or take part in extra-curricular activities.

Schools were also told to get the views of pupils and parents before making decisions over teachers’ performance.

The advice was made after the Government approved controversial plans to abolish annual pay rises based on length of service.

From September, heads will be given complete freedom to pay the best teachers more money within a minimum and maximum threshold.

But on Friday it was claimed that the move could lead to a rise in teachers attempting to cheat to earn more money.

Mark Leach, employment partner at law firm Weightmans, told the Times Educational Supplement: “There is the potential for fraud, particularly if there is lots of classroom-based work. There has to be the potential for that to increase.

“Where you link performance to reward, there is the potential for performance to be over-egged.”

Last year, 130 penalties were issued to schools and colleges for cheating in GCSEs and A-levels – more than double the number just 12 months earlier.

Five institutions were stripped of the power to run their own exams altogether and one school had its exam entries suspended.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said the new pay system was “almost asking for trouble”.

“With any major change, there will be a rise in people testing the edges of [what is permitted],” he said.

In separate comments, Mr Leach said the performance-related pay system had the potential to fuel discrimination claims.

Schools must be careful to ensure they impose a completely transparent method of calculating pay awards, he said, adding: “Where that is not seen to be in place, that is when complaints will be made; allegations such as: he only got a rise because he’s white, heterosexual or not too old.

“I can see a real administrative nightmare for schools.”

A spokesman for the Department for Education said pay policies “must set out in detail how all pay decisions will be made, including how appraisal outcomes are linked to these decisions.”

Comment

New York to consider making teacher evaluations available to parents

Global news, Teacher performance, US

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said they plan to take up the issue of whether to make teacher evaluations private or available to parents only, rather than allow the general public access to them.

Cuomo and Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, have said in recent days that they are considering making the records available on a limited basis.

“My inclination is the parent has a right to know the evaluation information of the teacher, so I think the parent’s right to know is important and should be protected,” the governor told reporters late last month.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, said it wasn’t immediately clear whether there would be discussions on the issue after lawmakers return from their spring break April 17.

As new teacher accountability measures take effect across the country, policymakers are grappling with how best to balance government transparency and school personnel’s right to privacy. New York is implementing an evaluation system that factors in student growth on standardized tests for the first time. Unions, which oppose releasing evaluations, have philanthropist Bill Gates and other high-profile leaders on their side.

Nineteen states exempt teacher evaluations from disclosure, according to an Education Week report published last month. But a few states have moved to restrict access. Florida now requires districts to notify parents of children whose teacher has received more than one poor evaluation, and Michigan will implement a similar policy in 2015, the report said.

A bill to prohibit the release of evaluations to parents and the public is making its way through the Tennessee Legislature. At least 18 states, including New York, allow access through open-records laws, Education Week found. Other states disclose records only with permission of the teacher or a third party, such as a school district.

The issue came to the forefront in New York when the state’s highest court ruled against the United Federation of Teachers, which had sued to keep confidential the records of 18,000 teachers who were part of a pilot program to improve instruction. Several media outlets that had sought the records under the state’s Freedom of Information Law made them available to the public.

Richard Iannuzzi, president of New York State United Teachers, said making the records public is an “abuse of the rights of teachers” and has no purpose other than to shame them.

The evaluation process is designed to support effective teaching and help professionals whose performance is less than stellar to improve, Iannuzzi said. If they don’t step up their performance, they should be removed, he said.

School officials and unions are in the process of agreeing on terms for the new teacher and principal evaluations, which have to be implemented if districts want to collect the aid increase included in the new state budget.

Gates wrote in a recent op-ed for The New York Times that he supports efforts to measure teacher effectiveness, but he disagrees with education advocates who want evaluations to be made public.

“Developing a systematic way to help teachers get better is the most powerful idea in education today,” he wrote. “The surest way to weaken it is to twist it into a capricious exercise in public shaming.”

The National Council on Teacher Quality doesn’t support making evaluations public, not even to parents, said Kate Walsh, the group’s president. That information should be between the principal and teacher, she said.

Principals are responsible for identifying and working with unsatisfactory teachers and taking appropriate action, Walsh said. Those who don’t act “should be held accountable for not holding teachers accountable,” she said.

Lawmakers and the governor will have to weigh privacy rights against parents’ rights to information about teacher and school performance, Silver said in a recent interview with WAMC public radio. Teachers currently are the only public employees in the state whose evaluations have been made public, he noted.

“I think you probably need a method by which parents can know how a particular teacher or a particular grade performs in a particular school,” he said. “But it doesn’t mean that some newspaper should have a picture of a teacher and their evaluation … on the front page of that newspaper.”

The state School Boards Association generally supports “transparency,” but in this case it might recommend waiting a year or two for personnel to become familiar with the new system and make sure information is reliable and accurate, spokesman David Albert said. It’s important for parents to know how well their child’s teacher is performing, he said.

The group hasn’t taken a position yet on whether evaluations should be available to the general public or just parents.

“They’re very important and once someone has kind of been publicly branded as an ineffective teacher, will we ever be able to change anyone’s mind about their performance, even if they improve dramatically?” Albert said.

Democrat and Chronicle, 08 April 2012

Comment

Victoria-India partnership boosts teacher training

Teacher education and training, Teacher performance

MUMBAI: Maharashtra’s Minister for Higher and Technical Education, Rajesh Tope and Victoria’s Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business, Louise Asher discussed new opportunities in Vocational Educational and Training (VET) for teachers in Mumbai recently.

Asher emphasised on education as a key sector for future mutual prosperity and increasing business and cultural ties between India and Victoria. She said, “Victoria already has a strong education partnership with Maharashtra, India’s third largest state and home to Mumbai, one of the nation’s most significant business hubs.”

The Victorian government provided $440,000 to Kangan Institute of TAFE to deliver vocational teacher training programmes in Maharashtra and Karnataka. In Maharashtra, 300 vocational teachers are taking part, working on modern methods of training and assessment to help prepare their students to be work ready.

Following the meeting with Tope and other education leaders, Asher took part in a presentation of certificates to teachers who completed the current vocational teacher training programme. The event was held during Victoria’s largest-ever trade mission to India, with more than 200 Victorian companies travelling on the mission to boost its two-way trade and investment relationship with India.

The Times of India, 07 March 2012

Comment

Over six lakh candidates to take TET

Teacher education and training, Teacher performance

Over six lakh candidates are expected to appear for the State government’s first Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) scheduled to be held on June 3. With the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act that demands large-scale recruitment of teachers, the Teacher Recruitment Board, designated as the nodal agency, is gearing up to conduct the exam.

The exam is mandatory for secondary grade teachers and graduate assistants appointed for government, aided and unaided institutions on and after August 23, 2010, in accordance with the guidelines framed by the National Council for Teacher Education. Final year students of Diploma in Teacher Education (D.T.Ed) and Bachelor in Teacher Education (B.T.Ed.) are also eligible to apply for the test. Candidates must score at least 60 per cent in the test, as is mandated by the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET). But recruitment of teachers in government and aided schools in the State will also be based on the prescribed minimum qualification and their seniority in the Teacher Recruitment Board. Teachers must pass the TET within five years and the score would be valid for a period of seven years.

An official said such huge numbers are expected to take the test as two lakh graduate teachers are already registered with the employment exchange. There are also a sizeable number of teachers working in Central government schools outside the State who would be keen to seek employment in the State. About 30,000 vacancies are waiting to be filled in for secondary grade teachers and graduate assistants’ post, said the official.

Educationists, however, wonder if one more exam would ensure quality and committed teachers entering the professions. “Aren’t we only adding to the anxiety levels of a teacher bringing in more exams? We need to find simpler ways of recruiting teachers,” says S.S. Rajagopalan, educationist.

The sale of applications will start from March 22 and April 4 will be the last day for submission. They will be sold at various educational district offices in the State.

The Hindu, 12 March 2012

Comment

Panel suggests new guidelines for teachers

Right to Education, Teacher education and training, Teacher performance

PUNE: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has framed new guidelines for teachers as per section 17 (1) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act. Under the new guidelines, teachers found discriminating against students on grounds of their physical disability, caste, colour, sex or religion will face strict action, which may include filing of a police case.

Speaking to TOI on Wednesday, NCPCR chairperson Shanta Sinha said, “The move come in view of several complaints received by the commission from across the country regarding teachers discriminating against students regarding their physical disability, religion, caste and even colour. The new set of guidelines is in context of the RTE Act and will be made public on March 5, the Foundation Day of NCPCR.”

The NCPCR has sent the new guidelines for approval to the Union ministry of human resource and development. “Once the ministry approves it , the guidelines will be implemented in every school in the country,” she added.

As per section 17(1) of RTE, no child shall be subjected to physical punishment or mental harassment. Speaking on how the new guidelines are different from those governing corporal punishment, Sinha said, “Though discrimination regarding physical disability, colour, sex and religion were not included in the guidelines for corporal punishment, we were receiving a lot of complaints related to these aspects. This made us decide that it was time we drafted new guidelines.”

Leena Chaudhari, principal, Symbiosis School, said, “I think the job of teachers is to educate children and not encourage any type of discrimination. Teachers should not bring these issues to school and, if they do, then I think they deserve to be punished.”

Anuradha Sahasrabudhe, founder-director of Pune Childline – a 24-hour helpline for children in distress and member of the Juvenile Justice Board, Pune, said, “There’s been a steady flow of complaints where students have been abused psychologically and mentally, which has lowered their confidence. Such cases are prevalent and the numbers are rising. The guidelines have come at the right time.”

Vinita Kaul, counsellor for Central Board for Secondary Education students, said, “There have been cases where students are abused by teachers on various issues. Therefore, drafting these guidelines was necessary. I alsofeel that if a student or parent complains, the genuineness of the complaint must be verified before initiating action. It’s like giving power which may be misused.”

The Times of India. 01 March 2012

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