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Ken and colleagues,
I think the comment that student assessment data can't be used to determine tenure is a bit simplified: It can't be the only criterion on which tenure is based--it is to be use for 40% of the point in the new teacher evaluation system. This is an important clarification that will continue to evolve as the APPR evaluation system ratchets up over the coming years.
Since we are tasked with doing teacher evaluation based on NYS Teaching Standards, it will be useful to review Standard V (see http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/pdf/teachingstandards9122011.pdf) which deals with using assessments for student learning. If actually implemented as written, then the basic outline of what might meet minimum levels of compliance referenced early in the thread won't be enough. The Teaching Standards outline a more responsible use of performance data that becomes a real basis for instructional decision making in schools and classrooms. It's the kind of work many of us have been attempting to do in Regional Information Centers around the state, and which is slowly finding it's way to forward-looking districts all around NY. We have a long way to go to help all teachers and administrators use data effectively.
In my region, PACE University in White Plains is using a dummy database developed by LHRIC that replicates most of the data analysis capability of our Data Warehouse in their teacher prep courses. Making appropriate use of data for instruction a preservice training requirement for teacher certification makes a lot of sense to me as well. We've training faculty at PACE on the use of the database for teacher prep. It's a decent start on upgrading higher ed teacher prep and the PACE education faculty are asking for more.
I am so frequently at a loss at to why we - teachers - are resistant to using data to a higher level than we are now. Every other profession is able to define, collect, analyze and manage data to improve both productivity and achievement. From the used car dealer to the girl working the counter at a hamburger joint, everyone uses data to drive performance, make decisions and increase productivity. We have not yet pulled the curtain completely to reveal the wizard hiding in the dark. Practice Management Consultants deal with this every day by separating "practice" from "business." Until we permit the use of the word business when referring to schools, we will stay a day late and a dollar short on moving ahead. Data works to the benefit of every other profession. The first step is humbling and humanizing, but until we take that step, we will stay right where we are.
Dr. Michael Cubbin