The purpose of a teacher is to educate the child according to the course content given to him/ her by the school, the rest is upon the child to grasp the knowledge and make use of it however he or she likes. But it may be possible that the teacher is not able to deliver the content according to the child’s aptitude to understand it. Or it may be that a child, who needs time to adapt to the knowledge provided to him, is not given enough time to grasp the concept.
Effort on the Part of the Teacher: Time and effort are the two main essential ingredients for a teacher to adopt for passing on the course content to the students. If the instructor is unable to deliver the course content on time to his students then he/she is to be blamed, but if the child has not given enough time and effort to the work provided to him by the instructor than it is obviously the fault of the child.
Problem on the Part of the Student: There are some cases in which the teachers are putting their souls into work but the students are just not bothered, no matter how good or effective the instructor is, some students just do not take advantage of them. Similarly, there are some cases in which the teacher is not bothered about the students and does not deliver the course outline in an effective way. There are some teachers who want their students to be successful but all that they can do is put them on the right track, one can only lead a horse to water but cannot make them drink. Similarly, a teacher can only try her best to deliver the data in the best way possible; the rest is upon the child as how he soaks up the data. When the exam is done and results tallied, it is not only the teacher who gets to view the results. When a teacher has a class of students with poor scores, it generally sends the signal to the head of the institution or state that said teacher is doing an insufficient job. Generally this is the case, but not always. This puts pressure on the teacher to bump up class grades so his or her job is not at stake. Secondly, the students who spend time studying but do not perform well on tests easily get discouraged. A teacher who notices failing scores and believes the test to be too difficult or wants a child to not feel disappointed may cheat to keep them motivated. While this seems like a solution, it only discourages these students more if they find out how they really did. There are many reasons as to why these teachers did what they did. While it doesn’t make it acceptable in the least, at the same time teachers should not be overly scrutinized based on the performance of their students on these tests. While oftentimes poor exam scores do indicate possible shortcomings on the part of the teacher, other times blame lies within the difficult and confusing nature of the exam as well, or the student’s inadequate understanding of the material. While when a whole class fails it signals a problem, this problem does not always mean the teacher isn’t qualified. On the contrary, putting pressure on the teacher to have a class of good test scores to avoid no salary increase and or possible job loss is not the right way to go about gauging a teacher’s ability. Some students are just not good with tests, while others may have no intrinsic motivation to do well. While a good teacher should presumably have a class full of good test scores, it is not up to the teacher to make a student care. A class with a handful of under-performing students can change the class average so that it appears the teacher is not doing their job while in reality, they are. Teachers should not be single-handedly responsible for their class scores. More research should be done to look into all the reasons that could be causing this rather than immediately assuming it is the teacher’s fault. This does not negate the fact, however, that these teachers handled the problem poorly. Cheating on tests, in any circumstance, is unacceptable but less pressure should be put on teachers for something that is not under their control. Nonetheless, there is broad agreement among statisticians, psychometricians, and economists that student test scores alone are not sufficiently reliable and valid indicators of teacher effectiveness to be used in high-stakes personnel decisions, even when the most sophisticated statistical applications such as value-added modeling are employed.
A school will be more effective if its teachers are more knowledgeable about all students and can coordinate efforts to meet students’ needs. Some other approaches, with less reliance on exam scores, are there to improve teachers’ practice while identifying differences in teachers’ effectiveness.
Factors that influence student test score gains attributed to individual teachers: A number of factors have been found to have strong influences on student learning gains, aside from the teachers to whom their scores would be attached. These include the influences of students’ other teachers—both previous teachers and, in secondary schools, current teachers of other subjects—as well as tutors or instructional specialists, who have been found often to have very large influences on achievement gains. These factors also include school conditions—such as the quality of curriculum materials, specialist or tutoring supports, class size, and other factors that affect learning. Schools that have adopted pull-out, team teaching, or block scheduling practices will only inaccurately be able to isolate individual teacher “effects” for evaluation, pay, or disciplinary purposes. Student exam score gains are also strongly influenced by school attendance and a variety of out-of-school learning experiences at home. Well-educated and supportive parents can help their children with homework and secure a wide variety of other advantages for them. Other children have parents who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to support their learning academically. Student test score gains are also influenced by family resources, student health, family mobility, and the influence of neighborhood peers and of classmates who may be relatively more advantaged or disadvantaged.
The potential consequences of the inappropriate use of test-based teacher evaluation: Besides concerns about statistical methodology, other practical and policy considerations weigh against heavy reliance on student test scores to evaluate teachers. Research shows that an excessive focus on basic math and reading scores can lead to narrowing and over-simplifying the curriculum to only the subjects and formats that are tested, reducing the attention to science, history, the arts, civics, and foreign language, as well as to writing, research, and more complex problem-solving tasks. Tying teacher evaluation and sanctions to test score results can discourage teachers from wanting to work in schools with the neediest students, while the large, unpredictable variation in the results and their perceived unfairness can undermine teacher morale. Surveys have found that teacher attrition and demoralization have been associated with test-based accountability efforts, particularly in high-need schools. Individual teacher rewards based on comparative student test results can also create disincentives for teacher collaboration. Better schools are collaborative institutions where teachers work across classroom and grade-level boundaries toward the common goal of educating all children to their maximum potential. A school will be more effective if its teachers are more knowledgeable about all students and can coordinate efforts to meet students’ needs. Some other approaches, with less reliance on exam scores, are there to improve teachers’ practice while identifying differences in teachers’ effectiveness. They use systematic observation protocols with well-developed, research-based criteria to examine teaching, including observations or videotapes of classroom practice, teacher interviews, and artifacts such as lesson plans, assignments, and samples of student work. Quite often, these approaches incorporate several ways of looking at student learning over time in relation to a teacher’s instruction. It is therefore necessary in a comprehensive system to give teachers the guidance and feedback, supportive leadership, and working conditions to improve their performance. Besides thrust should be on quantification as well in addition to qualification of a teacher.
(The author is a teacher at Govt. High School Brakpora Anantnag. Views are his own)