Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Thought School Personnel Didn't Like One-Size-Fits-All Tests

Apparently they do in Chicago, though, where what amounts to a personality profile can get you kicked out of the teacher candidate pool. That's right, boys and girls, it's a high-stakes test for teachers! But instead of testing competence, they test "soft stuff". Who has checked this test for validity?
A new questionnaire that probes the “soft skills” needed be a teacher has resulted in what critics call the “blacklisting’’ of hundreds of potential Chicago Public School teachers — including some who already had job offers, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Graduates of the Academy for Urban School Leadership’s teacher training program touted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel have, in effect, flunked the test. So has a winner of a prestigious Golden Apple scholarship. Likewise a special-education major who made the dean’s list at Michigan State University and was described as a “dream candidate’’ by a CPS principal who wanted to hire her.

Of the 3,900 CPS teacher applicants who have taken TeacherFit since June, 30 percent have scored low enough to be excluded from hiring...

The candidate — and many others — said she thought she was merely taking a survey when she filled out TeacherFit. She had no idea her career would rest on her answers, she said.

“Had I known, I might not have been as honest,” and instead given the answers she thought test evaluators were seeking, said the candidate, who asked to remain anonymous.

The CTU’s Lewis said the union complained about some questions during the TeacherFit development process because some seemed to probe for people who were “willing to work for free.’’ One current question asks candidates “how do you feel about a job that would require you to regularly work after hours?”

Other questions ask candidates to recall how frequently they did something — such as help their peers with a difficult task — over a 10- or five-year time frame. A 10-year span would take a 21-year-old teaching candidate all the way back to age 11, one education professor noted.

TeacherFit co-author Neal Schmitt, a psychology professor at Michigan State University, said many of the questions involve “personality or attitude’’ items that try to get at the “soft skills’’ needed to be a teacher — student focus, planning and organizing, results-focus, perseverance and self-initiative.

Development of the test was paid for by the Chicago Public Education Fund, which counts as a board member Bruce Rauner, a wealthy venture capitalist and close ally of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Rauner was a driving force behind the sweeping school reform bill that Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law last month.

Hat tip to NewsAlert for this story.


Pomoprophet said...

Davis school district does the same thing. I've filled them out twice over the past couple of years...

Anonymous said...

One interesting aspect to this is that this sort of test is illegal in private industry. Giving this sort of test as part of the hiring process could (and for a large corporation WOULD) land a company in court.

The company would lose, too.

My company offers a "hiring within the law" course and they very carefully cover what we are *NOT* allowed to do without risking a lawsuit. One of those things is give a test that has not been experimentally shown to correlate with job performance. Lacking this experimental verification, you lose as the default assumption under the law is that the test does not correlate and is thus illegal.

I'm wondering if this isn't triggering class action lawsuits because the public school system is government and thus has some form of immunity?

-Mark Roulo

KauaiMark said...

"...touted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel"

That's all you need to know about the process to realize it's "rigged mind control"

Anonymous said...

Well, I am a U.S. Navy and Gulf War I veteran... received my degree with honors.... have excellent work history and references....

And I can't even get an interview anymore. By the 5 major districts in my county. Because of this damn test.

The title of your blog is so apt, and illustrates the hypocrisy: they say they champion the idea of people as individuals, and yet, screen candidates out entirely by a computer psych test. Worse thing is: you wont be told what your score is. You could waste years of your life (as I did) trying to get into good districts and not even know why you aren't getting interviews. One district in particular, I applied for about 3 dozen positions over about 4 years... and not one interview.

I have invested years of my life and incurred thousands of dollars in debt to be a teacher. I have worked with children from all age groups and backgrounds, with great references. And I think I have to recareer... again... at 42. Because of this damn test