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Log in to Witsby: ASCD’s Next-Generation Professional Learning and Credentialing Platform
February 1, 2001
Vol. 58
No. 5

Web Wonders / Evaluating Educators

How can we convert the stress of giving and receiving evaluations into a constructive learning experience for all educators? How do we hold teachers to high standards? And whose standards? The following Web sites might help.

Standards, Standards, Standards

How do we know what an accomplished teacher is? The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (www.nbpts.org) has developed rigorous standards to assess and recognize accomplished teachers in 21 certificate areas. More teachers seek national certification each year; a record 4,694 teachers achieved certification in 2000. The Board's Web site includes advice about how teachers, administrators, parents, and school board members can use this certification to improve education (www.nbpts.org/about/how-can-i.html).
Teachers need the best preparation possible to become effective educators. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (www.ncate.org) has recently developed new performance-based teacher education standards for accrediting teacher preparation programs at colleges and universities and plans to start evaluating individual preservice teachers. Click "Standards" to look at the new standards that have been validated by ASCD and the council's 32 other constituent organizations. Click "Future Teachers" for advice on such topics as how to choose a suitable teacher preparation program.
At Columbia University's Teachers College, the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (www.tc.edu/nctaf) wants to ensure that "by 2006, America will provide every student with access to a competent, caring, qualified teacher." At this site, you can download (at no charge) the full text of the commission's What Matters Most: Teaching for America's Future and a new report, Solving the Dilemmas of Teacher Supply, Demand, and Standards, by Linda Darling-Hammond, the commission's executive director. Both are in PDF format.

Quality Matters

The Educational Testing Service (www.ets.org) administers 11 million tests worldwide each year, including the Graduate Record Examinations and the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and uses the data from these and other tests to conduct research on current issues in education. You can access the full text of a new report (in PDF format), How Teaching Matters: Bringing the Classroom Back Into Discussions of Teacher Quality, which links student achievement to teacher quality (www.ets.org/research/pic).
What about 360-degree feedback? Does this type of survey improve teacher—and administrator—quality? In this issue, EL author Karen M. Dyer, education sector manager at the Center for Creative Leadership (www.ccl.org), describes the benefits and challenges of such evaluation (p. 35). The Center provides an online 360-degree assessment program (www.ccl.org/products/360bd).
One valuable source for teacher standards is the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium, which is on the Web site of the Council of Chief State School Officers (www.ccsso.org/intasc.html). ASCD and other education organizations are part of the consortium, which has developed core standards for licensing teachers (www.ccsso.org/intascst.html). EL authors Barbara B. Howard and Wendy H. McColskey (p. 48), both from the regional education laboratory SERVE (www.serve.org), mention the consortium's standards. SERVE provides another helpful resource that you can download (in PDF format), "Formative Teacher Evaluation Plans" (www.serve.org/assessment/evaluation/plans.html).
Does merit pay provide an incentive for good teaching? EL authors Al Ramirez (p. 16) and Sandra McCollum (p. 21) present different perspectives on merit pay's effectiveness. To explore this issue further, you can read a CNN.com report on the controversy (www.cnn.com/2000/US/07/05/teachers.merit.pay) or use the keywords "merit pay" to search the archives of Education Week Online (www.edweek.org).
Lee S. Shulman, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, says during his interview with EL that teachers "are uniquely responsible for carrying on our cultural, intellectual, and aesthetic achievements" (p. 6). Visit the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (www.carnegiefoundation.org/CASTL/k-12/docs/k-12.htm) to see how K–12 teachers are sharing their insights into the teaching practice to help "create the language and standards that permit the work of teaching to be reviewed critically."

Carolyn R. Pool has been a contributor to Educational Leadership.

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