Pursuit of Better Classroom Data: Is It Improvement of Teaching or of Classroom Surveillance?

Reblogged from The 21st Century Principal

Perhaps there’s a truth here about accountability and testing that we have ignored: the use of standardized testing, value-added models, and growth models in teacher evaluations is all about subjecting the classroom to techniques of surveillance. To put it bluntly, they are spy tactics. Their purpose is to peer into the classroom to see if teachers are teaching the “prescribed” curriculum, and to see if teachers are adhering to the “rules of best practice” as they teach. These surveillance techniques are based on a fundamental mistrust of teachers’ professional judgment regarding how they should be teaching and how their students perform.

The current efforts to perfect the evaluation of teachers aren’t really just about improving teacher effectiveness: they are about sharpening the gaze into the classroom. They are about making the classroom more visible to those higher up the administrative chain. They are about finding the means to “objectively” determine whether teachers are teaching in the manner prescribed by “best practices” and whether they are teaching only the content that can be subjected to testing.

What testing and accountability experts have discovered though, is that tests are imperfect. Read more>>