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Letter: Consider key criteria in teacher evaluations

Consider key criteria in teacher evaluations

How fairly to evaluate teacher performance remains a contentious issue for discussion. A critical but often glossed-over point is that the ability of teachers to bring their students to a defined level of performance is dependent both on their own performance and on the environment in which they teach. Both of these factors should be included in any evaluation scheme.

Such a process is common in other fields. For example, in the sport of diving, scoring has two components: a score for the actual performance of the dive, and a factor for the degree of difficulty of the dive.

We know a lot about elements that correlate with performance in school: family income, family education level, percentage of non-English speakers and so forth. One can readily imagine analyzing the demographics of a school to provide a metric that describes the difficulty of the teaching environment. This schoolwide metric could be combined with the evaluation score of an individual teacher to give a total, corrected score.

If teachers are professionals, they should be evaluated as such. But a system that makes all teachers in Clarence seem better than any teacher in Buffalo makes no sense.

Eaton Lattman