Sunday, April 28, 2013

Taking a Step Back from the Compass Evaluation System

Good news for Louisiana educators!

The House Education committee passed a bill Wednesday to delay implementation of a key part of Compass, the controversial teacher evaluation tool, for one year. While teachers will still be graded using the tool, the bill prohibits the termination of teachers rated "ineffective" under the Compass rating system until next year. 

The Compass evaluation system has been highly controversial from the beginning.  It was never fully thought out and the bugs were not worked out before it was implemented.  As a result it has been tweaked, changed, and altered throughout this first year.  When careers are on the line (and lawyers likely waiting at bay), it seems makes much more sense to let this first year be a "beta" year, or test year for the system.

Just to give you an idea, this is just a part of the computation formula in grading both teachers and schools:

You see the problem.

Louisiana Educator is giddy over the news, and contends that Compass will remain deeply flawed:

I want to repeat my opinion that the VAM can never be "fixed" because it is based on the incorrect assumption that each teacher's performance is the major determinant of a student's test scores. A few of the opponents of the bill actually repeated the false assertion that the teacher is the major factor in student performance, but most of the committee members are now too well informed to believe this typical reformer rhetoric.

Be sure to check out the "insider stories" on the negotiations at Louisiana Educator, as well.

Education will always be a collaborative effort between the teacher and the parent.  The politicians and reformers can put in place any evaluation system they want to but until parents become involved in the child's education, nothing will change.  The biggest problem with Compass was not that the formula was complicated or that the implementation instructions and evaluation metrics were confusing and inconsistent, but that there was no accountability placed on the parent or even on the student; everything fell to the teacher.

Time to take another look.

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