Patricia Hinchey, professor of education at Penn State Worthington Scranton, recently presented at two national events for educators.
At the annual Teachership Academy, which was held this year at El Paso Community College in El Paso, Texas, Hinchey conducted an interactive informational session on her area of expertise, action research, which was titled, “Action Research: What is it? Where do you start?”
Hinchey also attended the annual Fellows Meeting of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she is a research fellow.
She and well-known researcher and scholar, David Berliner, discussed teacher assessment. In her presentation, Hinchey explored the reasons for the political push for teacher assessment based on “value-added” formulas, which theoretically measure how much of a student’s growth in one year can be attributed to a specific teacher. Because research shows such formulas are too unstable and unreliable to be the basis of high-stakes personnel decisions, Hinchey’s presentation speculated on alternative reasons for the popularity of this measure -- especially on how such measurement helps promote the privatization of public schools.
She concluded with guidelines for a sensible teacher assessment system that includes strategies to identify ineffective teachers, as well as help all teachers improve their performance and give them a voice in system design and implementation.
Her presentation was based on her recent research publication, "Getting Teacher Assessment Right: What Policymakers Can Learn From Research," published by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Hinchey has been at Penn State Worthington Scranton since 1992 and has authored several books on education, including "Finding Freedom in the Classroom: A Practical Introduction to Critical Theory;" "Becoming a Critical Educator: Defining a Classroom Identity;" "Designing a Critical Pedagogy;" "Student Rights: A Handbook;" "Action Research: A Primer" and, with Isabel Kimmel, "The Graduate Grind: A Critical Look at Graduate Education." Last year, she also co-edited a highly publicized book assessing recent quality of think tank research, "Think Tank Research Quality: Lessons for Policy Makers, the Media and the Public."