Peabody-led survey shows teacher evaluation effort viewed positively

Teachers and their observers viewed Tennessee’s teacher evaluation process more positively in 2013 than in 2012, according to a broad-based independent survey called First to the Top and conducted by the Tennessee Consortium on Research, Evaluation and Development at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development.

Established in 2010 as part of Tennessee’s Race to the Top grant, the consortium is responsible for carrying out a detailed program of research and evaluation focused on key grant initiatives. This is the third annual First to the Top survey.

As Tennessee moves into its fourth year of Race to the Top implementation, the 2013 results suggest that the more than 26,000 educators who completed the survey more fully support the teacher evaluation process that is a key component of the education reforms included in Tennessee’s Race to the Top grant, especially when they perceive that feedback is focused on improving teaching rather than judging performance.

However, half of responding teachers remain unconvinced of the value of the current evaluation system.

Among this year’s findings:

• Both teachers and observers perceived the teacher evaluation processes more positively in 2013 than in 2012.

• Teachers surveyed in 2013 were more likely than teachers in 2012 to perceive the feedback from teaching observations to be more focused on helping them improve their practice than on judging their performance.

• Teachers in 2013 were more likely than teachers in 2012 to agree that evaluation processes would improve their teaching and improve student achievement.

• Teachers who perceived the feedback from teaching observations to be primarily focused on helping them improve generally had more positive attitudes about their evaluation systems.

• More than half of responding teachers still believe that the process of evaluating their teaching takes more effort than the results are worth.

• Most of the teacher respondents reported that the feedback they received from teaching observations included recommendations targeted to help them improve performance. However, nearly half of teachers reported that their evaluator never followed up about areas in need of improvement.

Read more here.

“Results from our investigation suggest that teachers’ attitudes about changes to Tennessee’s teacher evaluation systems are becoming more positive,” said Mark Ehlert, lead author and research associate professor at the University of Missouri at Columbia. “We also noted that teachers who perceived the feedback from their evaluations to be more focused on helping them improve their teaching were more likely to have positive perceptions and attitudes about the evaluation processes being used in their schools. This latter finding may prove to be important as it suggests a mechanism that could reduce the share of teachers who still believed in 2013 that the benefits from their evaluations were not worth their time and effort.”

Tennessee was one of only two states to be awarded a grant in the first round of the U.S. Department of Education’s 2010 Race to the Top competition. The $501 million award to Tennessee included new curricular standards, assessments, and a new system of educator evaluation.

The Tennessee Consortium was established at Peabody in 2010 as part of the state’s initiative and is the lead external evaluator of reform efforts.

In addition to Ehlert, team members included Matthew G. Springer, Susan F. Burns and Matthew J. Pepper, all of Vanderbilt’s Peabody College, and Eric S. Parsons, also of the University of Missouri.

Oct 9, 2013 12:08 PM

VU researchers, juvenile justice systems partner in national program

Vanderbilt University researchers are partnering with juvenile justice systems throughout the country using a tool they have developed to evaluate the potential of delinquency intervention programs to reduce recidivism — in hopes of improving outcomes for young offenders.

In the recently formed partnership, called the Juvenile Justice Reform and Reinvestment Initiative (JJRRI), VU officials are drawing on the results of more than 20 years of meta-analysis on interventions for juvenile offenders, according to Mark Lipsey, director of the Peabody Research Institute and a research professor in human and organizational development.

“The implementation of this tool could positively affect the lives of young people under court supervision and in youth prisons and reformatories who are in dire need of effective interventions," Lipsey said in a release. "A lot of teens make bad choices and end up in the justice system, but only a very small number of them are potential career criminals. We need to be sure the programs in place are effective in keeping them out of further trouble.”

Via a grant opportunity offered by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, three pilot sites — Iowa, Delaware and Milwaukee County, Wis., — are participating in the JJRRI three-year partnership with Peabody. The initiative adds to the work underway with other juvenile justice systems in Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Read more here.

Oct 3, 2013 9:37 AM

2nd Generation Capital adds principal

Former Mars official will also serve as director of merchant banking firm
Oct 2, 2013 7:00 AM

Good growth for VU tech transfer numbers

The value of technology transfers at Vanderbilt University rose to more than $24 million in the year ended June 30. That was more than four times the amount generated three years earlier. Among the highlights of the past year for Assistant Vice Chancellor Alan Bentley and his team were deals with Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca and Parker-Hannifin.

Bentley pointed to two key metrics — the number of invention disclosures and licenses executed — to illustrate CTTC’s growth. The center executed 82 licensing transactions last year, a 60 percent increase compared to the average for the previous three years.

Sep 30, 2013 7:10 AM

Vandy receiver Chris Boyd pleads guilty to misdemeanor, gets probation, agrees to cooperate with DA

Vanderbilt receiver Chris Boyd, who had been charged with accessory after the fact — a felony — in connection with the Vanderbilt rape case, pleaded guilty this morning to a lesser charge: criminal intent to be an accessory.

According to The Tennessean, as part of the deal, Boyd received 11 months, 29 days of probation. If that's completed satisfactorily, the charge can be expunged.

On Twitter, WTVF reports that Boyd will cooperate in the case of the four now-former players charged with rape.

More details emerged about the night in question, as well.

From The Tennessean:

Thurman described a series of text messages and calls between Boyd and at least two of the men accused of rape. He said Boyd also received a video text message with evidence of what had happened, but that he immediately deleted it.

Thurman said one of the four accused ex-players, Brandon Vandenburg, was asking Boyd for help on the night of the incident, and that at one point Vandenburg advised Boyd to delete the video he had sent.

He said Boyd and Vanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta Samuels helped move the alleged victim.

Further, prosecutor Tom Thurman refuted an allegation in the BuzzFeed story:

Thurman, speaking to the media after the hearing, also addressed an allegation recently published on an online news site that football coach James Franklin had advised players to delete video evidence.

“There’s no evidence whatsoever that Coach Franklin was involved in a cover-up,” Thurman said.

Franklin’s attorney, Hal Hardin, praised authorities for not only convicting the guilty, but “protecting the innocent.”

“One of the most difficult things that any person can go through is to be the victim of rumors, unfounded rumors, and know that you’re innocent,” Hardin said of Franklin. “Some folks probably owe him an apology for spreading those rumors, but he has weathered it like the true champion he is.”

SEE ALSO: More details emerge in wake of Boyd plea, which has a link to a transcript from the hearing

Sep 13, 2013 9:31 AM

Vanderbilt creates director for the protection of minors position

Newcomer was formerly with Highway Safety Office
Sep 12, 2013 10:41 AM

VU start-up to present at Life Science Tennessee venture forum

Five promising companies from around the state have been chosen to speak to the LifeSciTN Conference and Venture Forum at the Music City Center next month. Among them is REDCap, a Vanderbilt University-developed electronic data capture solution that has more than 96,000 users at 680 not-for-profit institutions in 58 countries. Though REDCap was originally developed as a survey tool, its developers say it can be used by small to mid-sized contract research organizations, biopharmaceutical ventures and medical device companies.

Sep 12, 2013 7:13 AM

Whistleblowing docs allege vast VUMC Medicare billing deception

Complaint unsealed after two years; university denies, says scale of allegations unrealistic
Sep 11, 2013 7:10 AM

VU, Maryland team to offer online course on mobile app development

Vanderbilt University and the University of Maryland have partnered to introduce a two-part, sequenced course — which the two are describing as a "new approach" — offered through the digital learning platform Coursera. The joint MOOC, which will teach students to develop a mobile app, will begin Jan. 6, 2014. Both segments of the course will run eight to 10 weeks and be free. Vanderbilt News has more here.

Sep 10, 2013 6:45 AM

Vandy in 'beginning stages' of football 'stadium reimagining'

Vandy AD David Williams and football coach James Franklin fired off an email today seeking input from alumni on future renovations to Vanderbilt Stadium.

The email in toto:

Our fans have stayed the course, and now, the momentum for Vanderbilt Athletics has never been greater. We are in the beginning stages of a bold project-reimagining the Stadium through a proposed renovation on its existing footprint. We need your help. Please complete a brief survey to share your input as we explore the idea of renovating our Stadium.

Unlike any other facility on campus, the Stadium brings students, faculty, alumni and fans together to cheer on our Vanderbilt Commodores. Enhancing our Stadium is also a key component in our ability to compete in the SEC, to athletics success over the long term and to our vision for an unparalleled undergraduate experience.

While no decisions have been made yet about this renovation, we hope this project will turn the Stadium into a showpiece for the university and the community. Your input will be valuable as we explore options for a Stadium that will provide an unforgettable game day experience.

We want to hear from our loyal Commodore fans. Please click on the link below to access the Vanderbilt Stadium survey. If you are an active National Commodore Club member, you will receive five bonus points upon completion of the survey, which will be added to your priority rank.


We greatly appreciate your feedback and your support of Vanderbilt Athletics.

Anchor Down!

And yes, it really said "INSERT SURVEY LINK" (GO PERDS!) and had no survey link. UPDATED: It appears this problem wasn't universal. And here's a link to the survey.

Obviously, this is very preliminary — call it the "visioning" stage. Nonetheless, it's obvious this is something the university plans on moving forward with (eventually).

For history buffs, Tom Wood has a collection of clippings from when the stadium went up in the 1920s.

Sep 9, 2013 3:24 PM