Increasing numbers of states, as well as local school districts, are developing teacher evaluation systems for teachers, including music educators. As this issue evolves, talk of reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and Race to the Top requirements add some urgency. The ESEA provides national funds for primary and secondary schooling. It was signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 is the current reauthorization of ESEA. Beginning in September 2011, the Obama administration allowed states to apply for flexibility from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Currently, 34 states and the District of Columbia, have received waivers. Chris Woodside, NAfME assistant executive director, Center for Advocacy and Public Affairs, explains that the Association is talking with the U.S Department of Education, and with members of Congress about the issue. “We understand that accountability is important, but we want it handled in a way that is fair to music educators,” he said. Teacher accountability models under consideration or in place can be divided into three categories. Music educators are urged to become familiar with the system(s) that may apply in their school districts. The three major teacher accountability models are:
- Teacher evaluation linked exclusively to student outcomes in the Common Core-tested subjects of language arts and math. These allow for measurement and use of student outcomes in a teacher’s area of instruction, fusing measures of student mastery and student growth with end-of-course examinations.
- Teacher evaluations linked exclusively to teacher practice. These include the “Marzano Model,” which identiﬁes the direct cause-and-eﬀect relationship between teaching practices and student achievement.
- Teacher evaluations that combine measures of student outcomes and teacher practice. Examples include student achievement tests, measures of skill proﬁciency, graduation rates, the number of students enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, attendance rates, participation or attrition rates, teacher portfolios, parent surveys, student surveys, etc.
NAfME’s Position Statement on Teacher Evaluations
“The systematic application of student scores to teacher evaluation must be done carefully if the resulting systems for evaluation are truly to benefit our students and our schools. We urge all involved in the construction and implementation of these protocols and systems to carefully consider the importance of basing evaluation decisions on valid information. “ “It is important for music educators and others involved in our schools to be aware of the following issues, to avert potential damage to school programs, teachers, and most of all, to students.” To that end, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) believes:
- Measures of student achievement used in teacher evaluation must be based on student achievement that is directly attributable to the individual teacher, in the subject area taught by that teacher. Student achievement measures must be used with care, ensuring that they accurately reflect a given teacher’s contributions.
NAfME also believes successful music Teacher evaluations must include a balanced, comprehensive assessment of the teacher’s contributions to student learning through multiple measures. These measures can and should collect information such as:
- Indicators of teacher practice, such as planning and preparation
- Indicators of the teacher’s role in maintaining a productive classroom environment
- Indicators that instruction is designed to reach specified goals Indicators of teacher contribution to the school or district, as well as to the profession of teaching at large
- Indicators that students attain 21st Century skills through instruction.
NAfME’s Teacher Evaluation Resources
Groundswell, NAfME’s advocacy site, is a good place to follow the Association’s advocacy efforts in the area of teacher evaluations and other issues. Teacher Evaluation Resources Information on Music Standards as they relate to music teacher evaluations The Society for Music Teacher Education (SMTE) also is following the issue SMTE also offers a forum for those who want to discuss this topic.
Share Your Story
Let your community and the new Congress know how vital music education is for students and for our society. Between now and the end of Music In Our Schools Month in March, NAfME will collect stories about music education from across the country. Every music program is important, and every music teacher, parent, administrator, and student makes a difference. When we share our stories, we share the importance of the field of music education. Visit Share Your Story for more information. To share a story about the positive role music education has played in your life send an email. Photo by Becky Spray Roz Fehr, NAfME managing editor for news, January 18, 2013. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)