Sunday, December 12, 2010

What students can teach us . . .

This New York Times article shares findings from a Gate's Foundation study about teacher evaluation systems.  This part of the study is focused on learning what good teachers do by asking students.  Teachers in the study are ranked using a value added statistical method and student learning is measured year-to-year on changes in test scores.

Positive correlations that have emerged thus far include the following.
  • "Our class stays busy and doesn’t waste time,” tended to be led by teachers with high value-added scores.
  • The same was true for students who ranked the following statement high,  “In this class, we learn to correct our mistakes.”
  •  “My teacher has several good ways to explain each topic that we cover in this class,”  also had a high correlation.
A finding that some may find interesting is the negative effect of learning in classrooms where teachers spend considerable time drilling and preparing for state tests.
  • Teachers whose students agreed with the statement, “We spend a lot of time in this class practicing for the state test,” tended to make smaller gains on those exams than other teachers.
In this post from March I shared what we learned from our students about what teachers motivate them to do their best.  Instead of asking them questions we had a conversation.  I am thinking that there is more that we can and should learn by asking them questions.  The summary of our findings is shown below where relationship is a significant contributor.

What questions should we be asking our students to learn what they see as teacher behaviors that influence their learning?

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