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Blaming teachers is like blaming dentists for cavities

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  • webmaster@moc.desmoinesregister.com
    Article Title: Blaming teachers is like blaming dentists for cavities To view the contents on www.desmoinesregister.com, go to:
    Message 1 of 9 , Oct 8, 2011
    • 0 Attachment
      Article Title: Blaming teachers is like blaming dentists for cavities


      To view the contents on www.desmoinesregister.com, go to: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201110080405/OPINION04/310080008





      Message:This is best letter to the editor on this topic I've ever read (and better than I've ever written).

      Lloyd
    • Andrew Petto
      It s pretty old, though. I remember reading it several years ago. It is true, nonetheless. More recently, I wrote this, but the paper wouldn t print it.
      Message 2 of 9 , Oct 9, 2011
      • 0 Attachment
        It's pretty old, though. I remember reading it several years ago.

        It is true, nonetheless.

        More recently, I wrote this, but the paper wouldn't print it.

        Colorado Senate Bill 10-191 is supposed to ensure "quality instruction"
        through "educator effectiveness". The bill eliminates the state's
        existing teacher performance council and replaces it with a state-level
        guidelines for teacher performance evaluation. According to the bill, at
        least 50% of a teacher's professional evaluation will be based on
        "measures of longitudinal student growth" and "achievement levels on
        statewide assessments". No doubt, teachers are a very important part of
        how how well students perform on these tests.

        This approach, of course, is similar to the failed "No Child Left
        Behind" law, but it is intuitively appealing and seems reasonable to
        people who are not classroom teachers. Perhaps it would be easier to
        understand the problems by applying this approach to another profession.

        For example, let's imagine that we were evaluating the effectiveness of
        a worker putting on a new roof working under conditions that are
        familiar to most teachers. Here are the roofer's instructions:

        The nails have been used before; many are rusted and bent. But they
        have a lot of "potential" so you should be able to work with them.
        The shingles were blown off other buildings or taken from demolition
        sites, but there are some good ones. Tar paper is too expensive; use
        this nice recycled newspaper instead. It's almost as good. These
        recycled aluminum baking pans are the flashing; we know it is not
        ideal, but the other stuff is expensive, and you keep using it up
        and asking for more. There aren't enough hammers, but here are some
        heavy wrenches and iron pipe; they are good enough to get the job done.

        The ladder has some missing rungs, and the rails are loose at some
        points; but don't worry, we have security. They won't hold the
        ladder, but if you fall and hurt yourself badly enough, they might
        call 911. Oh, and their pay comes out of your budget, too.

        Of course, you are welcome to bring your own ladders, and tools ---
        as long as you spend your own money --- but you cannot select your
        materials. You have to use the nails, shingles, and flashing we give
        you. Your career will depend on an independent assessment of the
        roof after you have finished. The evaluation will consider only the
        performance of the roof --- does it leak; are the shingles and
        flashing secured; etc. --- not how much you accomplished with so
        little.

        If you would even try to do a job under these conditions,
        congratulations! you could be a teacher!


        On 10/9/2011 01:51, webmaster@... wrote:
        >
        >
        >
        > Article Title: Blaming teachers is like blaming dentists for cavities
        >
        > To view the contents on www.desmoinesregister.com, go to:
        > http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201110080405/OPINION04/310080008
        >
        > Message:This is best letter to the editor on this topic I've ever read
        > (and better than I've ever written).
        >
        > Lloyd
        >
        >

        --

        -----------------------------
        Andrew J Petto, PhD
        Senior Lecturer
        Department of Biological Sciences
        University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee
        PO Box 413
        Milwaukee WI 53201-0413
        CapTel Line: 1-877-243-2823
        Telephone: 414-229-6784
        FAX: 414-229-3926
        https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/index.htm

        *************
        Now Available!!! Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism.
        https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/scc2.htm
        *************



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Lloyd Miller
        Anj, Did you really read this commentary several years ago? If so, the writer must have re-worked portions to apply to the current political situation in Iowa.
        Message 3 of 9 , Oct 9, 2011
        • 0 Attachment
          Anj,

          Did you really read this commentary several years ago? If so, the writer must have re-worked portions to apply to the current political situation in Iowa.

          I think your letter is excellent too. Often, analogies are risky, but yours is right on target. I too have a file of op ed letters I've written that were never printed. I'm told that the letters most often printed are short, contain no big words, and are directed at the national mean ability to comprehend (is it still 12 years-old)? I'm a rank failure at small talk.

          Lloyd



          On Oct 9, 2011, at 9:24 AM, Andrew Petto wrote:

          > It's pretty old, though. I remember reading it several years ago.
          >
          > It is true, nonetheless.
          >
          > More recently, I wrote this, but the paper wouldn't print it.
          >
          > Colorado Senate Bill 10-191 is supposed to ensure "quality instruction"
          > through "educator effectiveness". The bill eliminates the state's
          > existing teacher performance council and replaces it with a state-level
          > guidelines for teacher performance evaluation. According to the bill, at
          > least 50% of a teacher's professional evaluation will be based on
          > "measures of longitudinal student growth" and "achievement levels on
          > statewide assessments". No doubt, teachers are a very important part of
          > how how well students perform on these tests.
          >
          > This approach, of course, is similar to the failed "No Child Left
          > Behind" law, but it is intuitively appealing and seems reasonable to
          > people who are not classroom teachers. Perhaps it would be easier to
          > understand the problems by applying this approach to another profession.
          >
          > For example, let's imagine that we were evaluating the effectiveness of
          > a worker putting on a new roof working under conditions that are
          > familiar to most teachers. Here are the roofer's instructions:
          >
          > The nails have been used before; many are rusted and bent. But they
          > have a lot of "potential" so you should be able to work with them.
          > The shingles were blown off other buildings or taken from demolition
          > sites, but there are some good ones. Tar paper is too expensive; use
          > this nice recycled newspaper instead. It's almost as good. These
          > recycled aluminum baking pans are the flashing; we know it is not
          > ideal, but the other stuff is expensive, and you keep using it up
          > and asking for more. There aren't enough hammers, but here are some
          > heavy wrenches and iron pipe; they are good enough to get the job done.
          >
          > The ladder has some missing rungs, and the rails are loose at some
          > points; but don't worry, we have security. They won't hold the
          > ladder, but if you fall and hurt yourself badly enough, they might
          > call 911. Oh, and their pay comes out of your budget, too.
          >
          > Of course, you are welcome to bring your own ladders, and tools ---
          > as long as you spend your own money --- but you cannot select your
          > materials. You have to use the nails, shingles, and flashing we give
          > you. Your career will depend on an independent assessment of the
          > roof after you have finished. The evaluation will consider only the
          > performance of the roof --- does it leak; are the shingles and
          > flashing secured; etc. --- not how much you accomplished with so
          > little.
          >
          > If you would even try to do a job under these conditions,
          > congratulations! you could be a teacher!
          >
          > On 10/9/2011 01:51, webmaster@... wrote:
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > Article Title: Blaming teachers is like blaming dentists for cavities
          > >
          > > To view the contents on www.desmoinesregister.com, go to:
          > > http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201110080405/OPINION04/310080008
          > >
          > > Message:This is best letter to the editor on this topic I've ever read
          > > (and better than I've ever written).
          > >
          > > Lloyd
          > >
          > >
          >
          > --
          >
          > -----------------------------
          > Andrew J Petto, PhD
          > Senior Lecturer
          > Department of Biological Sciences
          > University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee
          > PO Box 413
          > Milwaukee WI 53201-0413
          > CapTel Line: 1-877-243-2823
          > Telephone: 414-229-6784
          > FAX: 414-229-3926
          > https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/index.htm
          >
          > *************
          > Now Available!!! Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism.
          > https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/scc2.htm
          > *************
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Deborah Shepherd
          I liked Anj s analogy, too, but I have a feeling that the newspaper editors felt he was blowing things way out of proportion because of course they have little
          Message 4 of 9 , Oct 9, 2011
          • 0 Attachment
            I liked Anj's analogy, too, but I have a feeling that the newspaper editors
            felt he was blowing things way out of proportion because of course they have
            little idea what teaching really entails. Furthermore, I think Anj was too
            kind about the criteria of the independent assessment. It seems to me that
            the assessments usually only look for severe leakage and appealing external
            appearances. Structural criteria get short shrift. The roofer might argue,
            "But look how solidly this roof is built even though it looks ugly due to
            the tools and materials," just like the teacher might say, "I taught a firm
            foundation to the curriculum content; look at the quality of the critical
            thinking and expression of ideas in these student projects." But if the
            students don't pass the standardized tests with flying marks, nothing else
            matters.

            Which brings up another question: who has evaluated the quality of the
            standardized test questions?

            Deb


            -----Original Message-----
            From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
            Lloyd Miller
            Sent: Sunday, October 09, 2011 11:42 AM
            To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Blaming teachers is like blaming dentists for cavities

            Anj,

            Did you really read this commentary several years ago? If so, the writer
            must have re-worked portions to apply to the current political situation in
            Iowa.

            I think your letter is excellent too. Often, analogies are risky, but yours
            is right on target. I too have a file of op ed letters I've written that
            were never printed. I'm told that the letters most often printed are short,
            contain no big words, and are directed at the national mean ability to
            comprehend (is it still 12 years-old)? I'm a rank failure at small talk.

            Lloyd



            On Oct 9, 2011, at 9:24 AM, Andrew Petto wrote:

            > It's pretty old, though. I remember reading it several years ago.
            >
            > It is true, nonetheless.
            >
            > More recently, I wrote this, but the paper wouldn't print it.
            >
            > Colorado Senate Bill 10-191 is supposed to ensure "quality instruction"
            > through "educator effectiveness". The bill eliminates the state's
            > existing teacher performance council and replaces it with a state-level
            > guidelines for teacher performance evaluation. According to the bill, at
            > least 50% of a teacher's professional evaluation will be based on
            > "measures of longitudinal student growth" and "achievement levels on
            > statewide assessments". No doubt, teachers are a very important part of
            > how how well students perform on these tests.
            >
            > This approach, of course, is similar to the failed "No Child Left
            > Behind" law, but it is intuitively appealing and seems reasonable to
            > people who are not classroom teachers. Perhaps it would be easier to
            > understand the problems by applying this approach to another profession.
            >
            > For example, let's imagine that we were evaluating the effectiveness of
            > a worker putting on a new roof working under conditions that are
            > familiar to most teachers. Here are the roofer's instructions:
            >
            > The nails have been used before; many are rusted and bent. But they
            > have a lot of "potential" so you should be able to work with them.
            > The shingles were blown off other buildings or taken from demolition
            > sites, but there are some good ones. Tar paper is too expensive; use
            > this nice recycled newspaper instead. It's almost as good. These
            > recycled aluminum baking pans are the flashing; we know it is not
            > ideal, but the other stuff is expensive, and you keep using it up
            > and asking for more. There aren't enough hammers, but here are some
            > heavy wrenches and iron pipe; they are good enough to get the job done.
            >
            > The ladder has some missing rungs, and the rails are loose at some
            > points; but don't worry, we have security. They won't hold the
            > ladder, but if you fall and hurt yourself badly enough, they might
            > call 911. Oh, and their pay comes out of your budget, too.
            >
            > Of course, you are welcome to bring your own ladders, and tools ---
            > as long as you spend your own money --- but you cannot select your
            > materials. You have to use the nails, shingles, and flashing we give
            > you. Your career will depend on an independent assessment of the
            > roof after you have finished. The evaluation will consider only the
            > performance of the roof --- does it leak; are the shingles and
            > flashing secured; etc. --- not how much you accomplished with so
            > little.
            >
            > If you would even try to do a job under these conditions,
            > congratulations! you could be a teacher!
            >
            > On 10/9/2011 01:51, webmaster@... wrote:
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > Article Title: Blaming teachers is like blaming dentists for cavities
            > >
            > > To view the contents on www.desmoinesregister.com, go to:
            > >
            http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201110080405/OPI
            NION04/310080008
            > >
            > > Message:This is best letter to the editor on this topic I've ever read
            > > (and better than I've ever written).
            > >
            > > Lloyd
            > >
            > >
            >
            > --
            >
            > -----------------------------
            > Andrew J Petto, PhD
            > Senior Lecturer
            > Department of Biological Sciences
            > University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee
            > PO Box 413
            > Milwaukee WI 53201-0413
            > CapTel Line: 1-877-243-2823
            > Telephone: 414-229-6784
            > FAX: 414-229-3926
            > https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/index.htm
            >
            > *************
            > Now Available!!! Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism.
            > https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/scc2.htm
            > *************
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



            ------------------------------------

            Find out more at our web site http://saccweb.net/ Yahoo! Groups Links
          • Andrew J Petto
            Yeah, Deborah, we can argue a lot about various assessments --- and whether people really pay attention to the evidence more than the ideology. If we are
            Message 5 of 9 , Oct 9, 2011
            • 0 Attachment
              Yeah, Deborah, we can argue a lot about various assessments --- and whether people really pay attention to the evidence more than the ideology.

              If we are measuring the quality of the teaching with these assessments, then (a) we need a pre-test and a post-test, so the "added value" of that teacher can be measured. And that should make a difference; (b) we also need an index of some sort of the things that we know can interfere with educational progress in students but are outside of the teachers' control: for example, students who move frequently and have to change schools because of the new address (or NO address when they become homeless); (c) we need a way to have the assessments relate specifically to issues of classroom practice that we know or can demonstrate affect the performance of students on these exams.

              I have a gaggle of students struggling now with case studies in my course. A part of the process is to take 3 "gateway" quizzes along the way that ask questions at a higher and higher order of thinking. If they succeed at these quizzes, then they should have identified the key concepts and essential ideas in the case.

              However, we see that they are not applying *learning* strategies to this material, but instead *test-taking* strategies to the quizzes. They are finding ways to use the structure of the quizzes to aid them in getting the right answers, without really mastering the material. Then, when they have to write up the final case resolution, they get it very, very wrong.

              It is more difficult and time consuming to grade these than to grade multiple choice quizzes; it is also more revealing. But, it will never catch on for general measures of educational progress because it is too resource-intensive to be politically palatable.

              The upshot is that we are no longer a society where a person can succeed simply by committing a mass of facts to memory; one must be able to do something with those facts --- including being able to sift and winnow them to see which are relevant to a particular problem and which are not. Until we make the structural changes in education that reinforce this approach, we may get great test result, but they will always be what the head of our math department used to call "absolutely accurate and completely inconsequential."

              Anj

              ------------
              Andrew J Petto, PhD
              Senior Lecturer
              Department of Biological Sciences
              University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee
              PO Box 413
              Milwaukee WI 53201-0413
              CapTel Line: 1-877-243-2823
              Telephone: 414-229-6784
              FAX: 414-229-3926
              https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/index.htm

              *************
              Now Available!!! Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism.
              https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/scc2.htm
              *************

              "There is no word in the language that I revere more than teacher. None. My heart sings when a kid refers to me as his teacher and it always has."

              -- Pat Conroy
              The Prince of Tides

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "Deborah Shepherd" <shephdj@...>
              To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Sunday, October 9, 2011 2:20:26 PM
              Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Blaming teachers is like blaming dentists for cavities






              I liked Anj's analogy, too, but I have a feeling that the newspaper editors
              felt he was blowing things way out of proportion because of course they have
              little idea what teaching really entails. Furthermore, I think Anj was too
              kind about the criteria of the independent assessment. It seems to me that
              the assessments usually only look for severe leakage and appealing external
              appearances. Structural criteria get short shrift. The roofer might argue,
              "But look how solidly this roof is built even though it looks ugly due to
              the tools and materials," just like the teacher might say, "I taught a firm
              foundation to the curriculum content; look at the quality of the critical
              thinking and expression of ideas in these student projects." But if the
              students don't pass the standardized tests with flying marks, nothing else
              matters.

              Which brings up another question: who has evaluated the quality of the
              standardized test questions?

              Deb

              -----Original Message-----
              From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of
              Lloyd Miller
              Sent: Sunday, October 09, 2011 11:42 AM
              To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Blaming teachers is like blaming dentists for cavities

              Anj,

              Did you really read this commentary several years ago? If so, the writer
              must have re-worked portions to apply to the current political situation in
              Iowa.

              I think your letter is excellent too. Often, analogies are risky, but yours
              is right on target. I too have a file of op ed letters I've written that
              were never printed. I'm told that the letters most often printed are short,
              contain no big words, and are directed at the national mean ability to
              comprehend (is it still 12 years-old)? I'm a rank failure at small talk.

              Lloyd

              On Oct 9, 2011, at 9:24 AM, Andrew Petto wrote:

              > It's pretty old, though. I remember reading it several years ago.
              >
              > It is true, nonetheless.
              >
              > More recently, I wrote this, but the paper wouldn't print it.
              >
              > Colorado Senate Bill 10-191 is supposed to ensure "quality instruction"
              > through "educator effectiveness". The bill eliminates the state's
              > existing teacher performance council and replaces it with a state-level
              > guidelines for teacher performance evaluation. According to the bill, at
              > least 50% of a teacher's professional evaluation will be based on
              > "measures of longitudinal student growth" and "achievement levels on
              > statewide assessments". No doubt, teachers are a very important part of
              > how how well students perform on these tests.
              >
              > This approach, of course, is similar to the failed "No Child Left
              > Behind" law, but it is intuitively appealing and seems reasonable to
              > people who are not classroom teachers. Perhaps it would be easier to
              > understand the problems by applying this approach to another profession.
              >
              > For example, let's imagine that we were evaluating the effectiveness of
              > a worker putting on a new roof working under conditions that are
              > familiar to most teachers. Here are the roofer's instructions:
              >
              > The nails have been used before; many are rusted and bent. But they
              > have a lot of "potential" so you should be able to work with them.
              > The shingles were blown off other buildings or taken from demolition
              > sites, but there are some good ones. Tar paper is too expensive; use
              > this nice recycled newspaper instead. It's almost as good. These
              > recycled aluminum baking pans are the flashing; we know it is not
              > ideal, but the other stuff is expensive, and you keep using it up
              > and asking for more. There aren't enough hammers, but here are some
              > heavy wrenches and iron pipe; they are good enough to get the job done.
              >
              > The ladder has some missing rungs, and the rails are loose at some
              > points; but don't worry, we have security. They won't hold the
              > ladder, but if you fall and hurt yourself badly enough, they might
              > call 911. Oh, and their pay comes out of your budget, too.
              >
              > Of course, you are welcome to bring your own ladders, and tools ---
              > as long as you spend your own money --- but you cannot select your
              > materials. You have to use the nails, shingles, and flashing we give
              > you. Your career will depend on an independent assessment of the
              > roof after you have finished. The evaluation will consider only the
              > performance of the roof --- does it leak; are the shingles and
              > flashing secured; etc. --- not how much you accomplished with so
              > little.
              >
              > If you would even try to do a job under these conditions,
              > congratulations! you could be a teacher!
              >
              > On 10/9/2011 01:51, webmaster@... wrote:
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Article Title: Blaming teachers is like blaming dentists for cavities
              > >
              > > To view the contents on www.desmoinesregister.com, go to:
              > >
              http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201110080405/OPI
              NION04/310080008
              > >
              > > Message:This is best letter to the editor on this topic I've ever read
              > > (and better than I've ever written).
              > >
              > > Lloyd
              > >
              > >
              >
              > --
              >
              > -----------------------------
              > Andrew J Petto, PhD
              > Senior Lecturer
              > Department of Biological Sciences
              > University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee
              > PO Box 413
              > Milwaukee WI 53201-0413
              > CapTel Line: 1-877-243-2823
              > Telephone: 414-229-6784
              > FAX: 414-229-3926
              > https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/index.htm
              >
              > *************
              > Now Available!!! Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism.
              > https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/scc2.htm
              > *************
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

              ------------------------------------

              Find out more at our web site http://saccweb.net/ Yahoo! Groups Links
            • Andrew Petto
              To be fair, not the exact words, but the same analogy; the dentists who work with the neediest patients are likely to have the worst outcomes.
              Message 6 of 9 , Oct 9, 2011
              • 0 Attachment
                To be fair, not the exact words, but the same analogy; the dentists who
                work with the neediest patients are likely to have the worst outcomes.
                http://www.teachervision.fen.com/education-and-state/education-and-social-issues/4727.html

                This was significantly reworked and focused on the local situation.

                Anj

                On 10/9/2011 11:42, Lloyd Miller wrote:
                > Anj,
                >
                > Did you really read this commentary several years ago? If so, the writer must have re-worked portions to apply to the current political situation in Iowa.
                >
                > I think your letter is excellent too. Often, analogies are risky, but yours is right on target. I too have a file of op ed letters I've written that were never printed. I'm told that the letters most often printed are short, contain no big words, and are directed at the national mean ability to comprehend (is it still 12 years-old)? I'm a rank failure at small talk.
                >
                > Lloyd
                >
                >
                >
                > On Oct 9, 2011, at 9:24 AM, Andrew Petto wrote:
                >
                >> It's pretty old, though. I remember reading it several years ago.
                >>
                >> It is true, nonetheless.
                >>
                >> More recently, I wrote this, but the paper wouldn't print it.
                >>
                >> Colorado Senate Bill 10-191 is supposed to ensure "quality instruction"
                >> through "educator effectiveness". The bill eliminates the state's
                >> existing teacher performance council and replaces it with a state-level
                >> guidelines for teacher performance evaluation. According to the bill, at
                >> least 50% of a teacher's professional evaluation will be based on
                >> "measures of longitudinal student growth" and "achievement levels on
                >> statewide assessments". No doubt, teachers are a very important part of
                >> how how well students perform on these tests.
                >>
                >> This approach, of course, is similar to the failed "No Child Left
                >> Behind" law, but it is intuitively appealing and seems reasonable to
                >> people who are not classroom teachers. Perhaps it would be easier to
                >> understand the problems by applying this approach to another profession.
                >>
                >> For example, let's imagine that we were evaluating the effectiveness of
                >> a worker putting on a new roof working under conditions that are
                >> familiar to most teachers. Here are the roofer's instructions:
                >>
                >> The nails have been used before; many are rusted and bent. But they
                >> have a lot of "potential" so you should be able to work with them.
                >> The shingles were blown off other buildings or taken from demolition
                >> sites, but there are some good ones. Tar paper is too expensive; use
                >> this nice recycled newspaper instead. It's almost as good. These
                >> recycled aluminum baking pans are the flashing; we know it is not
                >> ideal, but the other stuff is expensive, and you keep using it up
                >> and asking for more. There aren't enough hammers, but here are some
                >> heavy wrenches and iron pipe; they are good enough to get the job done.
                >>
                >> The ladder has some missing rungs, and the rails are loose at some
                >> points; but don't worry, we have security. They won't hold the
                >> ladder, but if you fall and hurt yourself badly enough, they might
                >> call 911. Oh, and their pay comes out of your budget, too.
                >>
                >> Of course, you are welcome to bring your own ladders, and tools ---
                >> as long as you spend your own money --- but you cannot select your
                >> materials. You have to use the nails, shingles, and flashing we give
                >> you. Your career will depend on an independent assessment of the
                >> roof after you have finished. The evaluation will consider only the
                >> performance of the roof --- does it leak; are the shingles and
                >> flashing secured; etc. --- not how much you accomplished with so
                >> little.
                >>
                >> If you would even try to do a job under these conditions,
                >> congratulations! you could be a teacher!
                >>
                >> On 10/9/2011 01:51, webmaster@... wrote:
                >>>
                >>>
                >>> Article Title: Blaming teachers is like blaming dentists for cavities
                >>>
                >>> To view the contents on www.desmoinesregister.com, go to:
                >>> http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201110080405/OPINION04/310080008
                >>>
                >>> Message:This is best letter to the editor on this topic I've ever read
                >>> (and better than I've ever written).
                >>>
                >>> Lloyd
                >>>
                >>>
                >> --
                >>
                >> -----------------------------
                >> Andrew J Petto, PhD
                >> Senior Lecturer
                >> Department of Biological Sciences
                >> University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee
                >> PO Box 413
                >> Milwaukee WI 53201-0413
                >> CapTel Line: 1-877-243-2823
                >> Telephone: 414-229-6784
                >> FAX: 414-229-3926
                >> https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/index.htm
                >>
                >> *************
                >> Now Available!!! Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism.
                >> https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/scc2.htm
                >> *************
                >>
                >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >>
                >>
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >
                > ------------------------------------
                >
                > Find out more at our web site http://saccweb.net/ Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >

                --

                -----------------------------
                Andrew J Petto, PhD
                Senior Lecturer
                Department of Biological Sciences
                University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee
                PO Box 413
                Milwaukee WI 53201-0413
                CapTel Line: 1-877-243-2823
                Telephone: 414-229-6784
                FAX: 414-229-3926
                https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/index.htm

                *************
                Now Available!!! Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism.
                https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/scc2.htm
                *************



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Deborah Shepherd
                Your (a) through (c) would be the necessary sort of assessment to make. Nicely laid out. It really makes me angry how many resources are squandered by the
                Message 7 of 9 , Oct 9, 2011
                • 0 Attachment
                  Your (a) through (c) would be the necessary sort of assessment to make. Nicely laid out. It really makes me angry how many resources are squandered by the useless rote test assessments that have been foisted on us. When test results really are used, it seems that mostly harm comes of it. Struggling schools get budgetary road blocks thrown at them. Teachers are threatened (good ones leave), and all kinds get laid off. It’s very depressing.



                  Recently I had a chance to read over a college entrance exam from the 1860s. Granted, few Americans attempted college in those days. No multiple choice questions. All answers had to be written out with few hints. The type of learning was very different in some ways (Latin, Greek, and a thorough command of classical history), but the mathematics (as complicated as I ever learned) was the same. In short, students taking that exam not only needed to know what were considered the essential knowledge areas of learning, but they had to be able to articulate complex ideas, draw comparisons, and solve complex problems. It seemed like an excellent exam for the times and a devastatingly difficult one. My feeling is that, in past generations, students in the higher grades did less rote learning than we realize, but at least they had information to work with. I did not get fed too much rote learning in my ordinary public high school. I think it has been “No Child Left Behind” (or Allowed to Advance) that has done so much damage.



                  That and all of the technology toys, not to mention social networking.





                  From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Andrew J Petto
                  Sent: Sunday, October 09, 2011 2:58 PM
                  To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Blaming teachers is like blaming dentists for cavities





                  Yeah, Deborah, we can argue a lot about various assessments --- and whether people really pay attention to the evidence more than the ideology.

                  If we are measuring the quality of the teaching with these assessments, then (a) we need a pre-test and a post-test, so the "added value" of that teacher can be measured. And that should make a difference; (b) we also need an index of some sort of the things that we know can interfere with educational progress in students but are outside of the teachers' control: for example, students who move frequently and have to change schools because of the new address (or NO address when they become homeless); (c) we need a way to have the assessments relate specifically to issues of classroom practice that we know or can demonstrate affect the performance of students on these exams.

                  I have a gaggle of students struggling now with case studies in my course. A part of the process is to take 3 "gateway" quizzes along the way that ask questions at a higher and higher order of thinking. If they succeed at these quizzes, then they should have identified the key concepts and essential ideas in the case.

                  However, we see that they are not applying *learning* strategies to this material, but instead *test-taking* strategies to the quizzes. They are finding ways to use the structure of the quizzes to aid them in getting the right answers, without really mastering the material. Then, when they have to write up the final case resolution, they get it very, very wrong.

                  It is more difficult and time consuming to grade these than to grade multiple choice quizzes; it is also more revealing. But, it will never catch on for general measures of educational progress because it is too resource-intensive to be politically palatable.

                  The upshot is that we are no longer a society where a person can succeed simply by committing a mass of facts to memory; one must be able to do something with those facts --- including being able to sift and winnow them to see which are relevant to a particular problem and which are not. Until we make the structural changes in education that reinforce this approach, we may get great test result, but they will always be what the head of our math department used to call "absolutely accurate and completely inconsequential."

                  Anj

                  ------------
                  Andrew J Petto, PhD
                  Senior Lecturer
                  Department of Biological Sciences
                  University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee
                  PO Box 413
                  Milwaukee WI 53201-0413
                  CapTel Line: 1-877-243-2823
                  Telephone: 414-229-6784
                  FAX: 414-229-3926
                  https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/index.htm

                  *************
                  Now Available!!! Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism.
                  https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/scc2.htm
                  *************

                  "There is no word in the language that I revere more than teacher. None. My heart sings when a kid refers to me as his teacher and it always has."

                  -- Pat Conroy
                  The Prince of Tides

                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Deborah Shepherd" <shephdj@... <mailto:shephdj%40gmail.com> >
                  To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Sunday, October 9, 2011 2:20:26 PM
                  Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Blaming teachers is like blaming dentists for cavities

                  I liked Anj's analogy, too, but I have a feeling that the newspaper editors
                  felt he was blowing things way out of proportion because of course they have
                  little idea what teaching really entails. Furthermore, I think Anj was too
                  kind about the criteria of the independent assessment. It seems to me that
                  the assessments usually only look for severe leakage and appealing external
                  appearances. Structural criteria get short shrift. The roofer might argue,
                  "But look how solidly this roof is built even though it looks ugly due to
                  the tools and materials," just like the teacher might say, "I taught a firm
                  foundation to the curriculum content; look at the quality of the critical
                  thinking and expression of ideas in these student projects." But if the
                  students don't pass the standardized tests with flying marks, nothing else
                  matters.

                  Which brings up another question: who has evaluated the quality of the
                  standardized test questions?

                  Deb

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf Of
                  Lloyd Miller
                  Sent: Sunday, October 09, 2011 11:42 AM
                  To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                  Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Blaming teachers is like blaming dentists for cavities

                  Anj,

                  Did you really read this commentary several years ago? If so, the writer
                  must have re-worked portions to apply to the current political situation in
                  Iowa.

                  I think your letter is excellent too. Often, analogies are risky, but yours
                  is right on target. I too have a file of op ed letters I've written that
                  were never printed. I'm told that the letters most often printed are short,
                  contain no big words, and are directed at the national mean ability to
                  comprehend (is it still 12 years-old)? I'm a rank failure at small talk.

                  Lloyd

                  On Oct 9, 2011, at 9:24 AM, Andrew Petto wrote:

                  > It's pretty old, though. I remember reading it several years ago.
                  >
                  > It is true, nonetheless.
                  >
                  > More recently, I wrote this, but the paper wouldn't print it.
                  >
                  > Colorado Senate Bill 10-191 is supposed to ensure "quality instruction"
                  > through "educator effectiveness". The bill eliminates the state's
                  > existing teacher performance council and replaces it with a state-level
                  > guidelines for teacher performance evaluation. According to the bill, at
                  > least 50% of a teacher's professional evaluation will be based on
                  > "measures of longitudinal student growth" and "achievement levels on
                  > statewide assessments". No doubt, teachers are a very important part of
                  > how how well students perform on these tests.
                  >
                  > This approach, of course, is similar to the failed "No Child Left
                  > Behind" law, but it is intuitively appealing and seems reasonable to
                  > people who are not classroom teachers. Perhaps it would be easier to
                  > understand the problems by applying this approach to another profession.
                  >
                  > For example, let's imagine that we were evaluating the effectiveness of
                  > a worker putting on a new roof working under conditions that are
                  > familiar to most teachers. Here are the roofer's instructions:
                  >
                  > The nails have been used before; many are rusted and bent. But they
                  > have a lot of "potential" so you should be able to work with them.
                  > The shingles were blown off other buildings or taken from demolition
                  > sites, but there are some good ones. Tar paper is too expensive; use
                  > this nice recycled newspaper instead. It's almost as good. These
                  > recycled aluminum baking pans are the flashing; we know it is not
                  > ideal, but the other stuff is expensive, and you keep using it up
                  > and asking for more. There aren't enough hammers, but here are some
                  > heavy wrenches and iron pipe; they are good enough to get the job done.
                  >
                  > The ladder has some missing rungs, and the rails are loose at some
                  > points; but don't worry, we have security. They won't hold the
                  > ladder, but if you fall and hurt yourself badly enough, they might
                  > call 911. Oh, and their pay comes out of your budget, too.
                  >
                  > Of course, you are welcome to bring your own ladders, and tools ---
                  > as long as you spend your own money --- but you cannot select your
                  > materials. You have to use the nails, shingles, and flashing we give
                  > you. Your career will depend on an independent assessment of the
                  > roof after you have finished. The evaluation will consider only the
                  > performance of the roof --- does it leak; are the shingles and
                  > flashing secured; etc. --- not how much you accomplished with so
                  > little.
                  >
                  > If you would even try to do a job under these conditions,
                  > congratulations! you could be a teacher!
                  >
                  > On 10/9/2011 01:51, webmaster@... <mailto:webmaster%40moc.desmoinesregister.com> wrote:
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > Article Title: Blaming teachers is like blaming dentists for cavities
                  > >
                  > > To view the contents on www.desmoinesregister.com, go to:
                  > >
                  http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201110080405/OPI
                  NION04/310080008
                  > >
                  > > Message:This is best letter to the editor on this topic I've ever read
                  > > (and better than I've ever written).
                  > >
                  > > Lloyd
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  > --
                  >
                  > -----------------------------
                  > Andrew J Petto, PhD
                  > Senior Lecturer
                  > Department of Biological Sciences
                  > University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee
                  > PO Box 413
                  > Milwaukee WI 53201-0413
                  > CapTel Line: 1-877-243-2823
                  > Telephone: 414-229-6784
                  > FAX: 414-229-3926
                  > https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/index.htm
                  >
                  > *************
                  > Now Available!!! Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism.
                  > https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/scc2.htm
                  > *************
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                  ------------------------------------

                  Find out more at our web site http://saccweb.net/ Yahoo! Groups Links





                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Andrew Petto
                  Tell me about it. I am in the midst of grading papers on a case study about the process of scientific inquiry. The main result is the question of whether the
                  Message 8 of 9 , Oct 9, 2011
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Tell me about it.
                    I am in the midst of grading papers on a case study about the process of
                    scientific inquiry. The main result is the question of whether the
                    researchers set up the study to show a clear cause-and-effect
                    relationship and whether they presented their data in a way that makes
                    it obvious whether or not their hypothesis was correct.

                    I am getting all sorts of interesting writing, but my repeated comments
                    are whether this or that issue invalidates the proposed cause-and-effect
                    relationship. I am also seeing all sorts of interesting items in their
                    bibliographies ... many related to procedures in the the study, but not
                    to the central issue of how the study was conducted and reported.

                    So, in addition to the inability to articulate complex ideas; we also
                    see that the trend toward short answers and MC testing prevents students
                    from seeing an overarching context and applying it consistently in their
                    critique of a piece of research.

                    But, my philosophy is that these are people who are not yet completely
                    educated and it is, in part, my job to help get them closer to that
                    goal. I only wish they were not so far away from it to begin with.


                    Anj


                    --

                    -----------------------------
                    Andrew J Petto, PhD
                    Senior Lecturer
                    Department of Biological Sciences
                    University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee
                    PO Box 413
                    Milwaukee WI 53201-0413
                    CapTel Line: 1-877-243-2823
                    Telephone: 414-229-6784
                    FAX: 414-229-3926
                    https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/index.htm

                    *************
                    Now Available!!! Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism.
                    https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/scc2.htm
                    *************



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Lynch, Brian M
                    Yes, and if someone is looking to determine the effectiveness of the dentists, those dentists would do well to become adept at demonstrating the difference
                    Message 9 of 9 , Oct 10, 2011
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Yes, and if someone is looking to determine the effectiveness of the dentists, those dentists would do well to become adept at demonstrating the difference achieved, between start of treatment and end of treatment, to make the point of how much change has occurred, from what starting point.

                      At the same time, a dentist is the professional who is trained to know her/his own work. External standards don't (or shouldn't) dictate her/his own judgment.

                      Taking it out of the analogy frame, we as professionals in our fields (as anthropologists, teachers etc.) use our judgment every day as we teach, and assess our students constantly as we teach-- whether we record it as a grade or not. What puzzles me is why, we as professonals, act more like anthropologists who have plied our professionally trained skills at field work, doing qualitative and quantitative research, in creative and often unconventional ways, and then are reluctant to promote our etic analysis in all its polyvalent meaning-- for fear it might be called "assessment"? We need to not be afraid to push back, by asserting the very skills of observation and reporting that are at the heart of our disciplines.

                      Brian


                      ________________________________

                      From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Andrew Petto
                      Sent: Sun 10/9/2011 7:11 PM
                      To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Blaming teachers is like blaming dentists for cavities




                      To be fair, not the exact words, but the same analogy; the dentists who
                      work with the neediest patients are likely to have the worst outcomes.
                      http://www.teachervision.fen.com/education-and-state/education-and-social-issues/4727.html

                      This was significantly reworked and focused on the local situation.

                      Anj

                      On 10/9/2011 11:42, Lloyd Miller wrote:
                      > Anj,
                      >
                      > Did you really read this commentary several years ago? If so, the writer must have re-worked portions to apply to the current political situation in Iowa.
                      >
                      > I think your letter is excellent too. Often, analogies are risky, but yours is right on target. I too have a file of op ed letters I've written that were never printed. I'm told that the letters most often printed are short, contain no big words, and are directed at the national mean ability to comprehend (is it still 12 years-old)? I'm a rank failure at small talk.
                      >
                      > Lloyd
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > On Oct 9, 2011, at 9:24 AM, Andrew Petto wrote:
                      >
                      >> It's pretty old, though. I remember reading it several years ago.
                      >>
                      >> It is true, nonetheless.
                      >>
                      >> More recently, I wrote this, but the paper wouldn't print it.
                      >>
                      >> Colorado Senate Bill 10-191 is supposed to ensure "quality instruction"
                      >> through "educator effectiveness". The bill eliminates the state's
                      >> existing teacher performance council and replaces it with a state-level
                      >> guidelines for teacher performance evaluation. According to the bill, at
                      >> least 50% of a teacher's professional evaluation will be based on
                      >> "measures of longitudinal student growth" and "achievement levels on
                      >> statewide assessments". No doubt, teachers are a very important part of
                      >> how how well students perform on these tests.
                      >>
                      >> This approach, of course, is similar to the failed "No Child Left
                      >> Behind" law, but it is intuitively appealing and seems reasonable to
                      >> people who are not classroom teachers. Perhaps it would be easier to
                      >> understand the problems by applying this approach to another profession.
                      >>
                      >> For example, let's imagine that we were evaluating the effectiveness of
                      >> a worker putting on a new roof working under conditions that are
                      >> familiar to most teachers. Here are the roofer's instructions:
                      >>
                      >> The nails have been used before; many are rusted and bent. But they
                      >> have a lot of "potential" so you should be able to work with them.
                      >> The shingles were blown off other buildings or taken from demolition
                      >> sites, but there are some good ones. Tar paper is too expensive; use
                      >> this nice recycled newspaper instead. It's almost as good. These
                      >> recycled aluminum baking pans are the flashing; we know it is not
                      >> ideal, but the other stuff is expensive, and you keep using it up
                      >> and asking for more. There aren't enough hammers, but here are some
                      >> heavy wrenches and iron pipe; they are good enough to get the job done.
                      >>
                      >> The ladder has some missing rungs, and the rails are loose at some
                      >> points; but don't worry, we have security. They won't hold the
                      >> ladder, but if you fall and hurt yourself badly enough, they might
                      >> call 911. Oh, and their pay comes out of your budget, too.
                      >>
                      >> Of course, you are welcome to bring your own ladders, and tools ---
                      >> as long as you spend your own money --- but you cannot select your
                      >> materials. You have to use the nails, shingles, and flashing we give
                      >> you. Your career will depend on an independent assessment of the
                      >> roof after you have finished. The evaluation will consider only the
                      >> performance of the roof --- does it leak; are the shingles and
                      >> flashing secured; etc. --- not how much you accomplished with so
                      >> little.
                      >>
                      >> If you would even try to do a job under these conditions,
                      >> congratulations! you could be a teacher!
                      >>
                      >> On 10/9/2011 01:51, webmaster@... <mailto:webmaster%40moc.desmoinesregister.com> wrote:
                      >>>
                      >>>
                      >>> Article Title: Blaming teachers is like blaming dentists for cavities
                      >>>
                      >>> To view the contents on www.desmoinesregister.com, go to:
                      >>> http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201110080405/OPINION04/310080008
                      >>>
                      >>> Message:This is best letter to the editor on this topic I've ever read
                      >>> (and better than I've ever written).
                      >>>
                      >>> Lloyd
                      >>>
                      >>>
                      >> --
                      >>
                      >> -----------------------------
                      >> Andrew J Petto, PhD
                      >> Senior Lecturer
                      >> Department of Biological Sciences
                      >> University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee
                      >> PO Box 413
                      >> Milwaukee WI 53201-0413
                      >> CapTel Line: 1-877-243-2823
                      >> Telephone: 414-229-6784
                      >> FAX: 414-229-3926
                      >> https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/index.htm
                      >>
                      >>

                      -----------------------------
                      Andrew J Petto, PhD
                      Senior Lecturer
                      Department of Biological Sciences
                      University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee
                      PO Box 413
                      Milwaukee WI 53201-0413
                      CapTel Line: 1-877-243-2823
                      Telephone: 414-229-6784
                      FAX: 414-229-3926
                      https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/ajpetto/www/index.htm





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