Tuesday, December 21, 2010

45 Million Can't Be Wrong

In case you missed it, December 10th's Washington Post carried preliminary news of the Bill and Melinda Gate's Foundation's $45 million study of teacher effectiveness. Though the final report is not due for another year, foundation spokesperson Vicki Phillip said of these results: "In every grade and subject we studied, a teacher's past success in raising student achievement on state tests was one of the strongest predictors of his or her ability to do it again."

Um. I am sure the actual report will have more details and make an important contribution to improving teaching, teacher training, and teaching evaluation. But when, according to the Post, the central finding of this $45,000,000 study "indicates that teachers with 'value-added' ratings are able to replicate that feat in multiple classrooms and in multiple years, I have to wonder what they spent the other $44,999,999 on.

For my money the only finding they needed was that "the average student is able to recognize effective teaching." Given that, save a few bucks and go to Million Voice for getting students' input on school level factors that make for effective teaching and learning and iKnow My Class for getting students' input on classroom related factors for the same.

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