09 SES 12 B, Formative and Summative Assessments
In the context of increasing national and global interest in teacher accountability systems that rely at least in part on measures of student achievement, school districts in the United States, much like their counterparts in other countries, have been prompted to implement policy-directed, although often locally-developed, teacher evaluation systems (American Educational Research Association (AERA), 2015; American Statistical Association (ASA), 2014; Amrein-Beardsley, 2014; Braun, 2005; Collins & Amrein-Beardsley, 2014; Harris, 2011). Such systems are based on the premise that teacher quality can be both defined as a construct and quantified for the expressed purpose of making inferences about the effectiveness of individual teachers as professionals (Weisberg, Sexton, Mulhern, & Keeling, 2009). The construct of teacher quality, its purportedly quantifiable domains, and the inherent inferences generated from its reification in policy and practice must, accordingly, be better understood in terms of their policy contexts.
The purpose of this study was to better understand the perceptions of teachers regarding the purpose, components, implementation, and impact of a new policy-directed teacher evaluation system. To do this, the researcher interviewed elementary and high school teachers in a large suburban school district in the United States and utilized self-narrative as a framework for understanding the “possible lives” teachers construct when telling their stories.
The need to recognize and understand the cultural embeddedness of current educational policies from a global perspective is paramount. Self-narrative as the construction of a longitudinal version of self through storytelling can be aptly applied to contemporary issues in educational policy (Bruner, 1991, 2002), including teacher accountability systems and the impact of such systems on practitioners in context. The cultural and linguistic determinants of self-narrative processes can wield power of their own by structuring experiences and organizing memories—in essence, one’s life becomes the narrative told (Bruner, 2004). In the application of narrative as a framework for teacher evaluation, the researcher recognized the fundamental importance of the culturally- and linguistically-bound “possible lives” from which teachers can choose when telling their self-narratives (Bruner 2004).
As discussed here, the “possible lives” reflect the “policy lives” in which the teachers are enveloped, specifically given the culture-laden and linguistically-bounded definitions under which they must operate when demonstrating their own effectiveness. In this case, teachers across the state were evaluated annually based on locally-developed systems mandated to include measures of professional practice (e.g., most often classroom observations) and student achievement (e.g., based on complex statistical value-added models (VAMs)). The preliminary findings in this study suggest that teachers construct self-narratives bounded in part by the policy-directed effectiveness label they receive as part of the evalution process (i.e., highly effective, effective, developing, ineffective). Teachers rely on these labels when choosing from “possible lives” that focus on their understanding of themselves as a good teacher. Understanding these “policy lives” was a preeminent focus in this study.
American Educational Research Association (AERA). (2015). AERA statement on use of value-added models (VAM) for the evaluation of educators and educator preparation programs. Educational Researcher, XX(X), 1-5. doi:10.3102/0013189X15618385 Retrieved from http://edr.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/11/10/0013189X15618385.full.pdf+html American Statistical Association (ASA). (2014). ASA statement on using value-added models for educational assessment. Alexandria, VA. Retrieved from https://www.amstat.org/policy/pdfs/ASA_VAM_Statement.pdf Amrein-Beardsley, A. (2014). Rethinking value-added models in education: Critical perspectives on tests and assessment-based accountability. New York, NY: Routledge. Braun, H. I. (2005). Using student progress to evaluate teachers: A primer on value-added models. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Retrieved from http://www.ets.org/Media/Research/pdf/PICVAM.pdf Bruner, J. S. (1991). The narrative construction of reality. Critical Inquiry, 18, 1-21. Bruner, J. S. (2002). Making stories: Law, literature, life. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Bruner, J. S. (2004). Life as narrative. Social Research, 71(3), 691-710. Collins, C., & Amrein-Beardsley, A. (2014). Putting growth and value-added models on the map: A national overview. Teachers College Record, 116, 1-32. Harris, D. N. (2011). Value-added measures in education: What every educator needs to know. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. Weisberg, D., Sexton, S., Mulhern, J., & Keeling, D. (2009). The Widget Effect: Our national failure to acknowledge and act of differences in teacher effectiveness (2nd ed.). Brooklyn, NY: The New Teacher Project (TNTP). Retrieved from http://tntp.org/ideas-and-innovations/view/the-widget-effect
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
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Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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