Ever Hear of TeacherInsight?
April 13, 2008 in How to Get a Job
Tags: assessment, candidates, data, gallup, I hate Fresno Unified, insidious, insight, lie, lies, lying, personality, poorly, preassessment, questionnaire, quiz, rasmussen, reading, student, student teacher, survey, tainted, teacher, teacherinsight, test, thread, written, zogby
Question to current teachers: Before you were first hired, were you required to take a personality survey?
I don’t know if it means anything, but I took a Gallup-managed quiz called TeacherInsight not half an hour ago. I assume this is yet another preliminary step before I find out if I can get hired for my local school district’s summer school.
I’m barred from divulging specific contents of the questionnaire, but I doubt that prevents me from wondering aloud why the questions were so repetitive and poorly written.
For example, assume a question asked about the first few minutes of the day before class. You might be asked to choose one of these:
a. I greet students with a smile at the beginning of every day.
b. I’m usually grading papers between periods.
c. As students walk in, I scowl and insult their heritage.
d. I greet every student by the door with a handshake.
There are two safe answers — of which one is obviously preferred — along with one questionable answer and one outrageously horrible answer. Nearly every question was predictable; there was always a “right” answer and a “wrong” answer.
My take on it: If they really meant this to be a serious personality assessment, shouldn’t the differences between the answers be subtle enough so that applicants can’t tell how they should lie?
Don’t look at me; I answered every question honestly. That even includes those about how much I empathize with students and open up to them, and how little I really care about the belligerent students who will never try.
Believe-you-me, my choice to stop caring about the jerkwads for the benefit of the rest of the class will sure look like a severe personal shortcoming, and, to my detriment, I didn’t lie about it.
After all, I don’t doubt that I’ll end up competing for spots against less scrupulous and equally unproven teacher candidates who, unlike me, would have had no problem with lying the way the district wants.
How can this assessment accurately assess anything? How will the district use it? How can this tainted data fairly compare individuals?
Postscript: After writing this blog, I kept reading about how districts use TeacherInsight, and I became progressively more and more horrified. I knew I should have lied when asked about how much I want my students to like me. Forget that research debunked these tests; schools were never all that research-based, anyway.
Godforsaken, worthless Gallup. From now on, I’m sticking to Zogby and Rasmussen.
For more on this, check out my follow-up post.
Every day, we experience a thousand moments, each of those moments setting in motion a thousand slightly different possibilities in the future. When we make these choices, we are thrust toward another day's crossroads, where we have another thousand choices.
Given the infinite number of choices we make in a lifetime, why do we choose so many of the same routes and make just as many of the same mistakes as our parents and grandparents?
I plan to learn from their mistakes. Let's see how far I get.
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