Dr. Patricia Hinchey, associate professor of education at Penn State Worthington Scranton, recently addressed some 250 union representatives and school administrators from throughout the state of Ohio at a professional development conference titled "Teacher Evaluation: A Shared Responsibility" in Columbus.
The conference on teacher evaluation was sponsored by the Ohio Education Association.
Dr. Hinchey's remarks focused on dual-purpose teacher evaluation systems, which work both to provide teachers with information useful in improving their classroom performance and to help schools ensure that every teacher staffing a classroom is competent.
"Teacher assessment is on everyone's minds now, because the federal Race to the Top initiative requires the use of student achievement scores to evaluate teachers," she said. "And, New York state recently won a court case permitting it to follow in the footsteps of Los Angeles and publish the names of individual teachers and their scores based on such evaluations."
Pointing to extensive research demonstrating the unreliability of student scores as a measure of teacher effectiveness, despite their popularity in policy circles, Dr. Hinchey outlined the benefits and challenges of devising a more sophisticated and reliable system using multiple sources of information, tailored to the unique opportunities and challenges of individual districts and schools.
Her presentation captured highlights of her recent research publication, "Getting Teacher Assessment Right: What Policymakers Can Learn From Research," published by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where Dr. Hinchey is a Research Fellow.
Later this winter, she will serve on a panel at an NEPC event in Detroit, also on the topic of teacher assessment.
Dr. Hinchey has been at Penn State Worthington Scranton since 1992 and has authored several books on education, including Finding Freedom in the Classroom: A Practical Introduction to Critical Theory, Becoming a Critical Educator: Defining a Classroom Identity, Designing a Critical Pedagogy, Student Rights: A Handbook, Action Research: A Primer, and with Isabel Kimmel, The Graduate Grind: A Critical Look at Graduate Education. Last year, she also co-edited a highly publicized book assessing recent quality of think tank research, Think Tank Research Quality: Lessons for Policy Makers, the Media and the Public.