Flawed Evaluation System Makes Results Invalid

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Editor:

Lynnette Brouwer’s letter suggests people need to read/reread two previous issues of the Roundup. Yes, but the problem is not lack of a middle school counselor.

The national and state education leadership is totally lacking in demonstrated effectiveness of program design and evaluation ability. This has been made worse by widespread legislator gullibility in accepting education field drivel that has dominated the field for over half a century.

Pushy parents have been able to move underachieving kids through the system by pressuring administrators and school boards to award them an unearned pass.

The evaluation depicted in the Roundup, bases a school’s “grade” on the multiple choice test correctness performance improvement of 25 percent of the students in one grade, on test day, or days. Test results are not adjusted for the effect of the grades of some students in the 25 percent who obviously just randomly marked choices. They may make a quick selection not based on any consideration of the problem. They can feel good by finishing “first” or early. It has nothing to do with the school’s effectiveness in teaching the upper 75 percent of their students or even most of the lower achieving 25 percent. It doesn’t provide a valid evaluation of teacher effectiveness with the least achieving kids in the lower 25 percent.

Who are these kids, getting part time more intensive teaching? They include those with serious developmental disabilities warranting some separate attention from mainstream education efforts.

Are there individual student test results so low they obviously measure nothing to be tied to overall teacher and school effectiveness? I suspect so. These unfairly distort a valid evaluation of the teachers of the general student population. “First of all, do no harm.” The invalid outside imposed evaluation system is a significant part of the seemingly middle school “trouble.”

Lack of an education model of an effective teaching methodology for dealing with seriously developmentally disabled students and evaluating effectiveness of such specialized teaching is another cause of incorrect perception of middle school “trouble.”

Al Lauderbaugh

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