Evaluating Teachers

For students taking college classes through Fort Scott Community College in Louisburg High School, teacher evaluations occur at some point during the semester. The purpose of this is to evaluate the teacher’s ability to convey the subject in a way that makes sense, their ability to connect with the students, and their overall performance. It allows FSCC to determine if a teacher is adequately teaching students the subject they are instructing to a student’s standards.

As a student taking College Algebra, I was given one of those evaluation sheets earlier in the semester. After filling it out, I handed it to the Fort Scott representative and forgot about it, but after a while, I started thinking about it a little more. Why do we only do that for Fort Scott classes? Would it be beneficial to do that in Louisburg High? My interest was sparked, so I looked into it more.

A study done by Ronald Ferguson, an economist at Harvard University, found that when students are able to evaluate their teachers, overall performance improved. Specifically, the study found improved consistency from grade to grade, including Kindergarten, and across racial divides.

Furthermore, when tested in schools around the nation, teacher evaluation surveys proved to be a more reliable method of teacher performance than both classroom observations and student test-score growth. On a national scale, this led many to ponder if teachers should be paid, trained, or dismissed based, in part, on what their students said about them.

While I don’t believe that a teacher’s job or pay should be dependent on student evaluations, I do believe they would be a valuable addition to LHS. Not only would performance statistically improve, but it would give the students a chance to share their honest opinions on how well their teachers are working with them.