THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
TOWARD GETTING BETTER AT EDUCATION

Teachers need feedback

November 8, 2009

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RE “GRADE the teachers’’ (Ideas, Nov. 1): I welcome efforts to hold teachers to high standards. My concern is not for the small percentage of hopelessly ineffective teachers but for the majority of teachers like me whose average teaching could be excellent given relevant and rigorous feedback.

In my five years of public-school teaching, I’ve never received a formal evaluation. The state’s new data tracking system will likely provide me with information on my students’ academic progress in my third-grade classroom. What it can’t tell me, however, is how to increase their performance. I do not fear a negative evaluation. Rather, I fear for the future of the two or three students who leave my classroom each year unprepared for fourth grade. I don’t need more test data to tell me they are failing. Instead, I need feedback on how to effectively help these struggling students to thrive.

Caitlin Hollister
Boston

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