Special Education Corner: Teacher Evaluation, Should SPED Teachers be Held to a Different Standard?
[Source: Teaching Children with Special Needs]
by Neva Fenno, M.S.Ed. MLIS
Last time we talked about summative assessment, the cumulative, usually annual, measures of student achievement. The annual part of the bargain seems to be changing, there may now be semi-annual online exams in some states, but the focus of this blog has been student evaluation over the past few weeks.
A larger issue, still evolving at the state and district levels, is teacher evaluation. The climate of paranoia over how we will all be evaluated as teachers has risen to a fever pitch. The main scary point has been the drive by education reformers to tie teacher evaluations to student achievement test scores. We all know the picture has only started to become clear for the assessment of special education teachers and students. Some of the biggest questions like “how can we hold special education students to the same standards as ‘regular’” kids are being asked and debated nationally.
We have learned to write specific IEP’s to try to use existing laws to our advantage while protecting our students from unreasonable testing requirements. We are actively aligning our curricula to Common Core State Standards and hope the process will be informative.
But what about the teachers? If we haven’t really ironed out student evaluation issues for special education, how are we going to fairly evaluate teachers? We all want to know how we are doing as we are compared to our peers in SPED classrooms.