Being a teacher, I am often forced to be subjected to boring and useless professional development sessions. I will admit that during many of these sessions my attention gets diverted rather quickly from the speaker to something more pressing on my smartphone (i.e. Twitter). However, I recently sat through a session, the topic of which was a controversial issue among educators in my state, the Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS). I will not bore you with all of the details, but in a nutshell this is a system where a teacher’s effectiveness is measured based on student test scores.
Let me quickly explain what the controversy with this method is. Those not working in the field of education may be quick to say “that’s good, if the kids can’t pass the test then the teacher didn’t do their job.” Teachers, however, will be quick to point out that there are many factors that go into how well any given student will perform on a test, many of which are out of the teacher’s control. So to answer many of the questions and to dispel many of the myths concerning TVAAS, our school brought in an expert to explain the process to us. Read more »