Heidi Hayes Jacobs

President

Rye, NY

Interests: 21st Century Learning,...

  • Joined 4 Years ago
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SOCRATES FAILS TEACHER EVALUATION

by Heidi Hayes Jacobs        

www.curriculum21.com 

So, it came down to one day, one test, at the Acropolis as the young men of Athens took out their #2 chisels to answer 30 questions on stone tablets.   It is the annual timed test to prove the students’ knowledge and competence as they seek to become philosopher-kings.  This valued test is the ultimate prize  demonstrating not only the achievement of students, but also serves as the one key evaluation of the teacher.

Credit should be given to the test making company for developing multiple choice items with one correct answer given the challenging subject matter:  philosophy and governance.  Short answer constructed responses are a bit easier in those fields.  

The results were posted in the Agora for all to see  the quality and performance of their teacher.   Socrates failed.    He simply spent too much time asking them to think.   A walk- through evaluation by his supervisor (undisclosed), determined that “ sometimes Socrates’s  students meander through endless dialogues examining challenging questions that do not have one right answer.”    Hopefully, he will be replaced or perhaps go through an intensive summer professional development program in Sparta. 

  

       

9 Comments

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Chris_Sousa

24 Apr 2014, 02:37 PM

Love this.  They needed No Philosopher Left Behind.

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JM

Juliet_Mohnkern

01 Apr 2013, 11:27 AM

I don't think anything could point out the paradox of complex ideas through multiple choice tests better than philosopher kings. Thanks so much for this. http://edtosavetheworld.wordpress.com

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YS

Yvonne_Scirpo

09 Oct 2012, 01:38 PM

The fear tied to testing has gradually moved educators away from having students develop the lifelong skill of questioning the texts (and themselves) and push to answering the static questions on the tests. The act of questioning is a powerful skill indicating thinking, not producing a formulaic answe to produce a score.

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DH

David_Hall

11 Apr 2012, 03:06 PM

Ms. Jacobs, We may need to address the elephant in the room concerning corporate takeover of public education. We have "think tanks" funded by said interests, lobbyists by the hundreds in all states, template legislation and rule-making ready to go for all who drink the koolaid, and a testing business that has succeeded in convincing the entire education bureaucracy as well as government bureaucracy that tests measure all that is good and accurate about student learning and without it, we can't measure how well our students are doing and if our teachers are passing muster as educators worth having! Heck, we even "predict" through said instruments the need for remediation of a student that hasn't taken one class at colleges and universities! Talk about getting the cart before the horse! The amount of money devoted to testing and preparing for those tests is astounding! Pure corporate cannibalism at its finest! Yes, we may need to address this elephant in the room and how our entire education system has been hijacked more for profit than real concern relative to America's student achievement. We will always have room for improvement but generally, we simply have asked teachers to teach to standards that didn't contain the rigor or depth of knowledge measured on the NAEP or PISA instruments. Given time, we will see improvement there when the coherence is provided by like standards and expectations nationwide. Your blog about Socrates is another sad commentary of this hijacking where evaluations are used to justify the need for the private sector and their for- profit motives to intervene so they get a slice of the money they have targeted. The elephant is getting bigger and meaner by the day. The question is, can we get it under control and back into its proper environment?

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Heidi_Hayes_Jacobs

14 Apr 2012, 09:39 AM

The elephant concerns many educators and I appreciate your directness, David. Corporate "support" and "grants" in edu-initiatives are ubiquitous. Who is funding teacher evaluations values certain types of information and outcomes? It is a question to be raised between test-makers and underwriters. I mentioned in the follow up post below that ASCD is going to run a national webinar on the issues raised here. Your point and post will be brought up squarely in the webinar, in particular- your powerful last question.

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Heidi_Hayes_Jacobs

14 Apr 2012, 09:43 AM

The elephant concerns many educators and I appreciate your directness, David. Corporate "support" and "grants" in edu-initiatives are ubiquitous. Whoever the people are that fund a specific teacher evaluation model or the test that is used to determine teacher effectiveness, obviously values or perhaps produces certain types of information and outcomes. It is a question to be raised about policy crafters, test-makers and grant underwriters. Are there ulterior motives? I mentioned in the follow up post below that ASCD is going to run a national webinar on the issues raised here on September 27th. Your point and post will be brought up in the webinar, in particular- your powerful last question.

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Heidi_Hayes_Jacobs

14 Apr 2012, 09:44 AM

The elephant concerns many educators and I appreciate your directness, David. Corporate "support" and "grants" in edu-initiatives are ubiquitous. Whoever the people are funding a specific teacher evaluation model or the test that is used to determine teacher effectiveness, obviously value or perhaps produce certain types of information and outcomes. It is a question to be raised about policy crafters, test-makers and grant underwriters. Are there ulterior motives? I mentioned in the follow up post below that ASCD is going to run a national webinar on the issues raised here on September 27th. Your point and post will be brought up in the webinar, in particular- your powerful last question.

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Heidi_Hayes_Jacobs

09 Apr 2012, 11:50 AM

Due to the immediate and strong response to this Socrates Fails Teacher Evaluation blog, ASCD has asked me to to organize a webinar/debate on the key issues that the post touches upon: the essence of quality teaching; the reductive overemphasis on tests; the range of motives behind evaluation; and to whom is there any 'value' added? Save the date: SEPTEMBER 27, 2012 - Socrates FAILS Webinar Watch for further details through ASCD Edge. Please post suggestions for participants and concerns you would like to see added to this potentially exciting fall webinar program.

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Erik_Palmer

02 Mar 2012, 05:24 PM

Additionally, Socrates spent far too much time with oratory.  As we now know, teaching students to speak well is not important and not test worthy.  www.pvlegs.com

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Ross_Brewer

02 Mar 2012, 02:05 PM

It is rumored that Anytus decided to pursue this case and that it was instigated by Meletus. We hope that Socrates was fortunate enough to be sent to PD Boot Camp.

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Michael_Fisher

02 Mar 2012, 12:27 PM

Excellent post! Best metaphor I've seen so far!


This was also posted on the Curriculum 21 Blog and the Ning. There's even more conversation about this and other Common Core Related issues at http://www.curriculum21.com/

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Jeanne_Tribuzzi

01 Mar 2012, 08:31 AM

Hahahaha!  Great post Heidi!
Poor Socrates!  Maybe his improvement program and subsequent plan from Sparta will bring about the required changes and he'll learn to stick with the script!
Jeanne

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