EdMedia Commons Archive

Publishing Rankings: A ‘Public Shaming’?

Bill Gates once again takes the issue of teacher evaluations to the op-ed page of The New York Times with a column this morning advising against publishing teacher rankings:

“Shaming poorly performing teachers doesn’t fix the problem because it doesn’t give them specific feedback.

Value-added ratings are one important piece of a complete personnel system. But student test scores alone aren’t a sensitive enough measure to gauge effective teaching, nor are they diagnostic enough to identify areas of improvement.”

(We heard similar sentiments throughout the day at our recent Teacher Evaluation seminar in Chicago.)

Over at Eduwonk, Andrew J. Rotherham notes his agreement with Gates on the publishing question, but believes his piece underplays the effectiveness of value-added measures.

“The Gates Foundation’s own work shows that value add fares well compared to other methods. The political sensitivities around this entire issue and desire to create buy-in are obvious but we’re long overdue for a more straightforward conversation here as well.”

He goes on to point out a key missing feature of Gates’ argument: Namely, how much information should parents have about the quality of their children’s teachers? And how much say should they have about the teachers to whom their children are assigned?

What do you think of Gates’ premise? Does publishing rankings amount to public shaming?

This post originally appeared on EWA’s now-defunct online community, EdMedia Commons. Old content from EMC will appear in the Ed Beat archives.