State to explore tracking teachers' success

March 12, 2009|By Liz Bowie | Liz Bowie,liz.bowie@baltsun.com

The state Board of Education said yesterday that it will explore a partnership with neighboring states to create a regional data base that tracks the performance of teachers and students. Maryland lags in such data gathering, according to state schools chief Nancy Grasmick. Already, 21 states track teachers, but Maryland does not.

Through a federal grant, Maryland has set up a system that assigns each student a number to track individual progress. The state hopes to extend it from pre-kindergarten through college.

The board held a meeting yesterday to discuss steps the state can take to set new standards for education that are benchmarked to those of other nations, a top federal priority and also one of Gov. Martin O'Malley's.

Maryland must commit to widening its database if it is going to be competitive in getting certain stimulus funds. Grasmick said teachers' unions "have not been receptive to that at all." Identifying numbers would allow the state and districts to link student test scores to individual teachers. Such a tracking system could yield other information, she said, including looking at which colleges and universities produce the best teachers and what teacher training programs work best.

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