Four times a year, students are evaluated on academic competence. They receive a letter grade based off of how well they complete assignments, quizzes, and exams throughout the quarter and a final letter grade when the semester officially ends. This allows students to understand what information they do not know and/or what learning strategies did not work throughout the entire semester. This feedback is helpful in determining a student’s Grade Point Average (GPA), and Class Rank. After stumbling upon my own grades in class, I began to ponder if teachers are graded similarly, if at all?
I began tackling this question by gathering some information about how current teachers are evaluated. According to Business Education teacher, Graig Stone, teachers are currently evaluated annually using the Danielson framework for teaching. There are four main domains through which there are various other subcategories. A teacher is given a score of one through four in each category, and from this, a summative score is determined. There is a cut-score that determines not how well the teacher is doing his or her job but instead allows the administration to improve educator effectiveness by providing the said educator with additional resources. The evaluating is completed by selected individuals which are part of the administration team. However, is one administrator enough to provide teachers with adequate feedback? Soon enough another question arose and I asked myself, should students also be able to grade teachers?
These questions led me to send a survey out to South High students in order to gain insight on this topic based off of their perspectives. With 67 responses to the survey, 85.1% of those who responded believed that students should be able to grade teachers, while 14.9% believed that they should not. So why is it that a majority of those that responded feel the need to grade teachers? Let’s take a look at the responses to see why 85.1% of Redwings felt this way.
Sophomore Jade Gill answered yes to this question with the justification that “We should be able to grade teachers if they can grade us.” One could say that whatever their name follows the “eye for an eye” ethical dilemma that many agree upon. Yet, other students responded similarly, but for different reasons.
Senior Shouacua Xiong believes that students should be able to grade teachers because “This allows for administration to gather input from students on how their school is running. [The] administration doesn’t spend the day to day in classrooms, while the students do. It would be nice to have the voice of the impacted actually be heard.”
Based off of this reasoning, students would be able to have a say in how teachers could improve or change their teaching techniques in order to enhance student learning. However, regardless of the benefits that allowing this would entail, some students contradicted this idea due to compelling reasons.
When asked whether students should be able to grade teachers, Freshman Nicholas Kolar responded that they should not “…Some students would not grade teachers by how they teach, but on how they like the class.” This is a plausible action that could compromise the grade a student gives to an educator.
Junior Muhammed Herdic stated similar beliefs by responding that, “Many false accusations would fall upon certain teachers. For example, if students have ever gotten in trouble or simply don’t like the teacher they would grade them [the teacher] bad.” Grading based on these sentiments would not allow room for constructive criticism, but instead would be based solely off of favoritism.
So the questions still stand, should students be able to grade teachers? Many responded yes due to the feedback that could potentially positively impact the learning environment, while many others responded no because of the bias that would occur. Is it possible that one day teachers will have their own report cards stating their grades for the semester? Perhaps this will occur the day pigs learn how to fly!