High schools should add students to the teacher evaluation system.
I will be arguing that high schools should add some form of student feedback to the current teacher evaluation system which currently involves only principle evaluations and test scores.
My opponent will argue that high schools should not add student feedback to the system.
First round is acceptance only. Good luck to whoever accepts!!
The Flaws With the Current System
Accuracy of Student Evaluations
Improves the School System
Benefits the Student and Teacher
Thank you to unknown_player for accepting. Good luck; i'm looking forward to a great debate!!
I will use the following arguments supporting the con side:
Students have many different ranges of what they expect in a teacher. There need to be qualifications and standards that the students are giving. No group of students can learn their best all in the same way. This would vary would one student would see as good from another students expectations. On student evaluations, one student would give a completely different review due to their personal expectations than another student. The reason that there is a huge gap between what students expect and what they get is because they all expect something different.
1) A survey of over 200 students various my previous point. The students were asked to choose their top 3 choices of teacher characteristics. The number of positive responses on all 15 characteristics ranged from 100 to 14 (2). If the students can't even agree what they would enjoy to have in a teacher, there is no possible way they would come to an agreement on what kind of evaluation to give the teacher. I will go into further depth on this issue later on.
There need to be qualifications for the students to have the right standard for evaluating the teachers. One does simply throw a referee into a game without teaching him the rules of the game. Every experienced soccer player knows basic principles about the game, but they aren't qualified to know when to call a direct free kick, indirect free kick, give a yellow or red card, or even the standards that the fields should be before the players should step foot on it. This is the same with the students. They have a general idea of what goes into teaching, but they don't know the purpose behind different teaching styles or practices. They don't understand the full extent of the standards of a teachers set by the leadership in the school. Therefore, they cannot be qualified to give a proper evaluation of the teacher without being educated themselves on what a qualified teacher is (1).
A system with students added would not be accurate. This is simple logic. Biases are a big problem in this point. Some students may like the teacher while others completely despise the teacher. The students would evaluate the teacher based off their own personal preference. Some students would simply want to get rid of a teacher for multiple reasons that wouldn't make a teacher bad. They may not like how much homework they give, the format of their tests and quizzes, the style that they speak in, or even how strict they are. All of these factors, in addition to not having the right qualifications to give a proper evaluation, could go into why an evaluation could be inaccurate.
It is inevitable that students will expect something that the teacher will not meet. Some students couldn't care less if the teachers socialized with them at all. They would rather be left alone. Other students would prefer that the teachers did often have little chats with them here and there to build some kind of relationship(2). In larger schools, it would be extremely hard to do this for every student in their classroom when they have an average of 23 to 24 students per classroom and multiple classes during the day (3). Most high schools teachers teach a range of six to nine classes during the day (4). This means that each teacher sees between 138 to 216 students each day. It isn't plausible that every student's individual expectations of this one teacher would ever be fully met. There would be inconsistent evaluations on the teacher because of this issue.
The current system is the most effective way to evaluate teachers. Adding students to the teacher evaluation system would not make it any better than it currently is. It would only add more variables and more opportunities for inaccuracy in the evaluations. The current system limits such variables where it uses test scores and qualified personnel such as the principle. The current system would be better because the leaders of the school are setting the standards for the teachers. If the students set the standard, it would be significantly lower than the leaders of the school. "To have an effective teacher evaluation system, you need good, trained evaluators and more time from teachers and administrators to discuss performance and improve teaching and learning" (5). The students are not trained and do not have the qualifications of a true evaluation.
1) As for test scores, they are reliable to give evaluations on students because they measure teacher "effectiveness on the basis of student outcomes, as opposed to teacher inputs" (6). It matches student achievement with teacher effectiveness (6). Since teachers cannot control each student's score on standardized test, this is a reliable way of evaluating teachers.
Therefore, high school students should not be added to the teacher evaluation system for the reasons I presented above.
Thank you also debatability. Good luck to you too!
I'll attack my opponent's initial arguments this round.
"Students have many different ranges of what they expect in a teacher."
I would agree with this point. However, high schools generally offer different class options for students. For example, a student can sign up for an on-level class, a pre-AP class, or an AP class in most high schools. Students signing up for an on-level class will have similar expectations, and students signing up for an AP class will also have similar expectations. Also, teacher evaluations done by students are not simply a form where students talk about their opinions. Students will answer questions such as (1)...
"Does your teacher treat you fairly/with respect?."
"Does your teacher answer your questions well."
"Is your teacher consistent with how he/she relates to you with an administrator present vs. without." (this one is especially important because it will show if administrator evaluations are actually working)
"Do you behave in class?" This is also important, because if a student admits they did misbehave in class, the administration would know that the teacher was justified in punishing the student in an appropriate way.
"How could you and/or the class have acted differently in order to help the teacher do his/her job more effectively?"
The point I aim to prove with these example questions is that student's evaluations of teachers are not going to be in the form of a sheet where students simply write what they think. Evaluation forms will ask constructive questions that allow the student to give feedback, while minimizing bias. Of course, there is a spot where the student can talk about their opinion, but that is not all that goes in to the evaluation.
My opponent ends this argument by showing some evidence that proves students all want something different from a teacher. Look to the fact that students can sign up for classes of different levels meaning that while their expectations will differ slightly, each level will have somewhat similar expectations. I wasn't able to find the study my opponent used when looking at their link because they simply linked the main website. I am assuming this study was compiled of randomly selected students, meaning that they will naturally all have different expectations because they all signed up for different types of classes. Moreover, since the evaluations are generally in the form of questionnaires, they will be more accurate.
"There need to be qualifications for students who have the right standard for evaluating the teachers."
Students spend more time with their teachers than anyone else. This is what makes them qualified. They don't need training to answer the basic questions I listed above, or to give their opinion on the teacher's teaching. Also, introducing student evaluations would not mean getting rid of test score and administrator evaluations. Both are important, but without student evaluations, the whole system of assessing teachers is weak. My opponent notes that students do not know what a qualified teacher is. I'll get into this point when I provide evidence to counter their next argument.
"A system with students added would not be accurate (bias)."
I have two pieces of evidence that prove this point to be completely untrue.
Firstly there is the evidence I showed in the first round from The Atlantic. This study showed that teachers who were positively evaluated by students were able to get in six more months of teaching than teachers who had poor ratings. The article notes, "Students were better than trained adult observers at evaluating teachers."
Secondly, according to Springer, "In general the size of the association is small but not unimportant. A student’s overall grade-point average appears to have little or no relationship to teacher or course evaluation." This shows that students who give a negative review of their teachers are generally not “punishing” their teacher for giving them a bad grade. A student’s grade does not always affect their opinion of their teacher.
These two pieces of evidence prove that students know what a qualified teacher is, and they are usually fair when it comes to assessing the abilities of their teachers, making their evaluations accurate.
"It is inevitable that students will expect something that the teacher will not meet."
I agree. Realistically, a teacher cannot meet some of their student's expectations. However, this actually doesn't prove student evaluations to be a negative thing. If teachers see that they are doing something the majority of the class dislikes, they can try to change it. This gives the teacher at least an idea of their successes and failures. Of course, if a student demands something unrealistic, the teacher will not be expected to meet it. Students benefit as well, because they will at least feel like they have a say in what their teachers do.
"The current system is the most effective way to evaluate teachers."
The current system has some positive aspects, but as I have said before, it is not close to enough. Test scores show the motivation of students, not the abilities of teachers. My opponent said, "Since teachers cannot control each student's score on a standardized test, this is a reliable way of evaluating teachers." This is exactly what renders test scores a weak method of teacher evaluations. Teachers have little control over how their students do; thus, this is not the best way to assess a teachers abilities. As for administrator evaluations, I've showed they can be inaccurate simply because teachers can easily teach better quality lessons around administrators. Look at my pieces of evidence (2) and (3). These prove that student evaluations are accurate. Therefore, they should be added to the current evaluation system.
-this one is being tricky for some reason. Put this in chrome or try this: I'm not sure why, but I can't get to it from safari
Now attacking my opponents case:
"The Flaws With the Current System"
-Essentially, I will also be building up my point, the current system is the most effective way to evaluate teachers, while I attack my opponents arguments on this topic so that I don't have to repeat myself later.
1) The first issue was the test scores. My opponent tried to prove that test scores have little worth when evaluating a teacher. She argued that they only give the tests for grants. While this is true, they play a major role in evaluating a teacher. The standardized tests show how much a student has learned. My opponent mistook my statement she quoted by thinking that I meant it doesn't involve the teacher. The tests completely rely on what the student has learned from the teacher. The teacher controls what he or she teaches and how well he or she teaches it, but the teacher cannot have actual physical control over the actual score. It is accurate because it shows what the teacher has been able to teach in the school.
2) The second issue is principal reviews. Here is a piece of evidence that sums up my point. "More recent research suggests that principal evaluations are most accurate at the top and bottom ends of the teacher performance range. Observations of teachers" classroom performance and standardized test scores measure different dimensions of teacher performance." Principal reviews can pick up anything that the standardized test scores leave out. This fills the gaps, thus making the system strong. There is argument over a teacher changing teaching once a principal walks in, but this is only part of principal reviews. A majority of it is based in teacher leadership meetings, seeing student achievement, seeing the depth of information by end-of-the-year tests (finals), other administrator reviews, and even student assessments (2). This keeps the sight for error broad so that nothing is missed while keeping it professional and using qualified personnel. This proves that the current system is in no need of extra variables that would cause inaccuracy in the future.
"Accuracy of Student Evaluations."
-I will build up my complete opposite point, A system with students added would not be accurate, in the process of attacking this point.
1) My opponents evidence form The Atlantic that shows that teachers with high ratings could fit 6 more months of learning than those with lower ratings is irrelevant. The school could have easily known this by the various methods I listed above in principal evaluations. For example, by seeing the finals, the administration could have easily come to this conclusion because the depth of information on it would significantly lower for the teachers with lower ratings. Having students evaluate the teachers in this situation was completely unnecessary......(about the students getting it right?)....
2) Addressing biases, there is no way to prove they don't exist because they do. This affects the rating................................ My opponent states that the two pieces of evidence make students qualified when in reality, it would only prove that they aren't not qualified. Just because they won't lie or call a teacher bad because of grades doesn't mean they are qualified to know the standards by which the teacher is held at the school. Therefore, they are not qualified by this argument even IF it were correct.
Improves the School System
-For this one, I will simply attack it.
1) Teachers that gain tenure get it because the tenure system is flawed itself and not a direct cause of the teacher evaluation system. It has become "a system that favors seniority and ignores merit sends a terrible signal to anyone thinking about teaching" (3). To prevent this, schools need to pay more attention to student achievement (3). Schools aren't giving tenure because of good teachers necessarily.
2)Saying "bad teachers" is a loose term that can be taken on many levels. There are no direct and specific qualifications for the word "bad." The evidence does not say anything about whether these so called "bad teachers" were new, experienced, well-educated themselves in their subject, etc. If it was proved that this large amount of teachers that weren't fired were inefficient and couldn't do their job, then I'd like to hear the argument.
2) The current system puts students first without giving them power that is not theirs. The whole basis of teacher evaluations is to make better students and provide a better education. Here is an analogy. Restaurants always put their customers first. This doesn't mean they get to decide what a good price is for the quality of food. The owners get to decide that and they will fail as a restaurant if they have badly priced food or just terrible quality food. If reasonable, serious people were able to decide as customers what the price of the food should be, it would inevitably be lower than its true quality and price. The customers know nothing of the restaurant world so they aren't qualified to do this. It is the same with students. They don't know enough about the standards of a teacher to put a "price" on their teaching. For all we know, they could have a brand new teacher that's working really hard but just hasn't figured it out yet. It is the responsibility of the owner, or administration, to set the standards and hold the chefs, or teachers, to that standard.
Benefits the Student and Teacher.
-This simply goes back to my two arguments: Students have many different ranges of what they expect in a teacher, and It is inevitable that students will expect something that the teacher will not meet.. I will support these two while attacking my opponent's argument.
1) It won't benefit the student. Satisfying the students isn't the primary focus of a school. It is unimportant. The gap that opponent speaks of is inevitable. Students don't 100% expect the same kind of teacher in his or her style of speaking teaching, control of the class, personality, or methods of teaching. There will always be a gap. Not reaching the expectations of the students isn't always a bad thing. For lack of specifics, we must rule in the great possibility that the expectations were only not met by slight differences and not necessarily completely drastic being the opposite of expectations. It is possible that the expectations were merely approached which isn't all of the sudden wrong. This also goes to my point of student expectations that cannot possibly be met. This must be considered also.
2) it won't benefit the teachers spoke of in this point. Students at any point in time can walk up to teacher and talk to them about this issue of teachers wanting to become better. If they truly do, I'm sure they won't mind that a student gives feedback. Some teachers might even ask on their own. Student evaluations would simply turn feedback from students talking to writing. It's easy either way, it does neither harm nor good. Thus, it is unnecessary.
>>>>>To make things clear, I will show exactly how I defended my arguments and defend the ones I have not addressed in the attack on my opponents case:
Students have many different ranges of what they expect in a teacher. *see attack 1 on "Benefits the students and teachers"*
My opponent attacked my argument by bringing up the format of the evaluation and trying to show that it would make it more accurate. In the study, the evidence I provided, it was a survey of what they wanted in a hypothetical teacher. They had different preferences. This would obviously reflect on the evaluation. I know for a fact at my school, some teachers are despised by students while others find them amazing. There is too much of a contrast to give an accurate evaluation.
There need to be qualifications for students to have the right standard to evaluate the teachers. *see attack 2 on "Flaws with the current system" and attack 2 on "Improves the school system"*
It is inevitable that the students will expect something the teacher will not meet. *see attack 1 on "Benefits the students and teachers."
The current system is the most effective way to evaluate teachers. *see attack 1 and 2 on "Flaws with the current system." and basically everything else*
For the many arguments above, students should NOT be added to the teacher evaluation system.
The flaws with the current system:
My opponent talks about the pros of both the current methods of evaluating high school teachers. I'll cover both methods.
1. Test Scores My opponent concedes that schools are motivated to use tests as forms of evaluation because they get grants. This is important because this means that schools are motivated by something other than benefiting their students; they have no actual justification for such an evaluation used alone. My opponent explains that the teachers actually do have control over the scores of their students. I would agree with this to some degree; I am not in any way advocating to get rid of test scores as a form of evaluation. My opponent is right to some degree when he says that tests as evaluations show how well a teacher teaches material. However, there will always be students who do well on tests even when they have a neglegant teacher, and there will always be students who do badly even when they have a diligent teacher. When students fill out the evaluation form, they can answer constructive questions that will result in a much more complete form of evaluation than any test.
2. Principle Reviews For this point, my opponent cites some evidence that is sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the American Federation of Teachers. My Atlantic card I mentioned earlier notes that generally teachers are the ones that tend to be against student evaluations being integrated into the teacher assessment system. This article is sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers, and since teachers are often times against such a form of evaluation, the article contains a biased point of view. Also, the article never mentions anything against evaluations from students. It only talks about how to make principle/test evaluations stronger. The article states, "Evaluation procedures must address this complexity--they should not only assess individual teachers but also help them continuously improve." Student reviews fit this criteria. I will how later on.
Accuracy of student evaluations:
1. My Atlantic Card My opponent attacked this card by showing that principle evaluations can prove the same points as student evaluations. I'll get into why they can't on the next point. It is important to observe that my opponent did not cite a study showing the exact accuracy of principle evaluations; therefore, he has no way of showing that principle evaluations can do the same things student evaluations can do. As my Atlantic Study shows, students assessing their teachers is the most accurate form of assessment.
2. Addressing Biases My opponent explains that biases cannot be ruled out. I would agree. Bias will exist, but as my pieces of evidence show, bias is not going to be as big of a problem as one may think. In fact, administrators also can be biased. Gender bias is a major problem with administrators (1). I won't get too much into that issue, but there is always the possibility that a certain gender could get special treatment from various administrators.
Also, Education Week explained that the research by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (my opponent cites this earlier) is correct, several disturbing patterns were found. It turns out that teachers were evaluated by administrators got significantly worse reviews from administrators if they taught a lower level class with students that were hard to teach. Student evaluations can show that teachers instructing challenging classes may be good at what they do, although the students may not always succeed (2). The article states, "It creates a system that is demonstrably and palpably unfair to teachers, given that they have little control over the performance of the whole school,” the report states." I have proved that teachers with good student evaluations are better teachers, and that student evaluations have no correlation with a student's actual grade made a point earlier: students sign up for different levels of classes (pre-ap/AP/on-level). This means they will have similar expectations. Bias can cause administrators to give on-level teachers lower ratings even if they don't deserve them. Since students in an on-level class have similar expectations, they will be able to adequately assess their teachers abilities the way they should be assessed.
Lastly, my opponent explains that students are not qualified. I gave examples of the questions that students will be asked in the previous round. Since they spend at least every other day with their teachers, they are certainly able to answer simple questions about their teacher's performance.
Improving the school system:
1) My opponent explains that the tenure system is flawed, not the evaluation system. I agree the tenure system is flawed, but it will be much harder for a teacher to get tenure if they receive consistent bad reviews from students.
2) I would like apologize; I made an error in the first round in argument that addresses teachers being fired. My Teachers Union card is not talking about bad teachers, but teachers in general. The evidence (which will be linked below) states only 1 in 1000 teachers is fired for performance related reasons. If we look at lawyers, 1 in 97 get fired for performance; with doctors, 1 in 57 are fired for such reasons (3). The bottom line is teachers have a much lower standard than other careers, which is wrong because, "Wright, Horn, and Sanders (in press) have demonstrated that, within grade levels, the single most dominant factor affecting student academic gain is teacher effect." Teachers are what effect students the most and the should be held to a high standard (4). Student evaluations (which I have proved accurate) will hold them to that standard.
3) My opponent compares students assessing teachers to customers setting prices of food in a restaurant. This analogy is simply unrealistic because teachers have a lasting impact on the lives/education of students; food/prices at a restaurant do not. My opponent talks about how students don't know the standards of teaching, just like not all customers know the standards of a restaurant. It is important to remember that we are debating the high school evaluation. By the time students get into high school, they should know the difference between good teachers and bad teachers; at a restaurant obviously there will be people who don't generally eat out (making them ill-qualified). Remember, student evaluations are not just a sheet where students put their opinions. Students fill out sheets of constructive and easy-to-answer questions.
Benefits the teacher/student:
1) My opponent explains satisfying the student is unimportant and that the gap between student expectation vs. what they actually get is inevitable. Look at the question: Why do we have schools? The answer is: To teach students. If students are not satisfied, they won't be taught well. Simple. As I said before, the gap is inevitable. However, teachers knowing why this gap exists for them makes them better teachers. And students feeling like they have a say gives them satisfaction because they finally have an ability to dictate some of what happens with their teachers.
2) My opponent says students can walk up to teachers and give them suggestions; thus, positively impacting the teacher. This is completely unrealistic. Students will most likely not have the confidence to pull such a stunt, and the teacher will most likely find the student to be condescending. The solution is student evaluation because they will be anonymous if the teacher were to look at them.
I'll go ahead and cross-apply my attacks in the same format as my opponent to make things simpler since I have already attacked my opponent's case in the previous round.
Students have Different Ranges of What To Expect
*As I said there, students have signed up for similar classes have similar expectations. Also, my Atlantic Card shows that since teachers with higher ratings teach more. This means students simply expect teachers who will teach them adequately. Also, many of the questions that would be on the evaluation are not opinion questions.
*again, see attack #2 of "addressing bias"*
Students spend a lot of time with their teachers. Answering questions about the teacher is simple.
*see attack #1 on benefiting student/teachers*
*see attack #1 and #2 on "flaws in the system"*
For these reasons, vote pro.
Thanks again to Unknown_player for accepting!! Also, thank you to anyone who votes.
To make it easier for everyone to see (mostly me), I'll attack her case first.
Flaws with the current system:
1) Test Scores: If we're being technical here, grants actually could help the students because it goes into the school and not in the pockets of the administration. Test scores are just a tool for the administration to use in teacher evaluations, and they aren't used alone. Tools are useful. While there are students who do well with negligent, there would be a re-occurring pattern by the test scores for the majority of students who are in between good test takers and bad. I'll get to the student evaluation effectiveness later.
2) Principal reviews: Attacks my evidence by using evidence that doesn't relate. If she were to find evidence that proves that this piece of evidence is actually biased and not just facts about teacher reviews. This evidence actually doesn't mention student evaluations. This is the reason I used it. It gives good evidence that simply shows the current system. We could argue source credibility this whole time, but I'm going to focus on what really matters: the arguments.
Accuracy of student evaluations:
1) The Atlantic Card: My opponent attacks principal evaluations by stating that I have no evidence on how accurate they are exactly by a study. It's not that I found statistics that were against me in this point or for me and I didn't post them. I just haven't found anything. Due to time constraints, I have no time to search all day for this one piece of evidence. Proving that they are effective should be enough for me here. The reason my opponent could easily find evidence for herself is because a majority of the schools don't use student evaluations on teachers, so a study would be simply to do. She can state that because of the evidence, she's right, but then I could say the same thing.
2) Addressing biases: my opponent and I are speaking of two different biases when we compare gender bias and just not liking the teacher. There is a lot more that would cause somebody to give a teacher a bad review with a bias than gender bias. Gender biases are easily detectable. In my opponents own words, students should be top priority. If students aren't succeeding and the teacher is good, there needs to be a change. If students gave the teacher a good review, there would be no change and students would continue to do poorly. Student achievement cannot be ruled as unimportant. It is half or more than half of what a teacher's job is next to being a good teacher. If they truly are good teachers, we should see it in student achievements without student evaluations.
Lastly, students are not qualified. As I've said many times before, students don't understand everything that goes into being a teacher, or being a part of administration. It's the job of the administration to decided who is qualified as a teacher or not. They set the standard, not the students.
Improving the School System:
1) Tenure is flawed. Like The evidence in R3 said, they give it by seniority and not teacher capability. This point is irrelevant.
2) Thanks for clearing that up. I'm guessing that my opponent thinks all teachers doing a poor job should be fired rather than helped to become better teachers. They don't need to be fired if they're doing a poor job. My opponent alludes to the idea that this means they are held to a lower standard. Without evidence, there is no way to prove this. With all of the evidence I provided in R3, we can see that they are not held to a low standard.
3) My opponent attacks my analogy. I simply came up with it on the spot to be clever. I couldn't find anything better to compare that would fit the best. Of course restaurants don't have a lasting impact, but I was simply trying to point out why students are not qualified and that it is the job of the administration to set the standard. I won't defend my analogy because it's just a tool for my main argument: the administration knows a ton more about teaching than students making them more qualified that students. That was my point. There is certain complexity to teaching that students couldn't answer questions about since students only have general knowledge.
Benefits the teacher/students
1) a lot of kids hate school and still learn. A lot of people eat when the don't like the food. Either way, they get what they need.
2) The teacher could also make a survey just for students to fill out without the evaluation. If they care that much, they should care enough to do something like this.
Students have different ranges of what they expect:
Students even in the same exact classes will have different expectations in a teacher in general. They all have opinions on what is good and bad teaching. This is a fact.
*see attack 3 on "Improving school system" and attack 2 on "addressing biases"
This goes back to my first and second point.
For the reasons that students evaluations would cause problems in the current system, and the current system evaluates teacher adequately and accurately, this point is proven. I have proven this throughout the debate.
---For the all of these reasons and the reasons in previous rounds, vote con.
Thank you debatability. It was an honor. Muchas gracias all voters tambien.
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