Those of you who do not have children in the Knox County Schools may be interested to know that families are receiving robocalls tonight from Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer Elizabeth Alves advising them that student surveys of "classroom environment" will be conducted on (or did she say "start on?") November 14.

The survey, which Alves advises is optional and is intended to "close the achievement gap," will be conducted by The Tripod Project and will be weighted at 5% of KCS teachers' evaluations.

Alves says that students and their families may opt out of participation by contacting their schools.

sclark426's picture

Not counting on evaluations

According to Dr. McIntyre. He's not counting them "this year" but still spending $100,000 to administer the tests. Perhaps they were caught in a contractual obligation. -- s.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Thanks for the clarification, Sandra.

However, my student will be opting out whether or not his opinions count toward teacher evaluations this school year.

lonnie's picture

I like that spirit!

I like that spirit!

FocuslyFocused 's picture


Tamara is a dictator parent

Min's picture

Shelby County already uses student surveys.

It counts for 5% of the teacher's total evaluation score.

fischbobber's picture

I want to see.

We won't opt out. I want to see what's going on. We may not complete the survey though.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


We don't have to allow our kids to participate in the survey in order to learn what's on the survey (and kids are to complete the survey at school, anyway).

We can read sample survey questions at the link for The Tripod Project, which I provided above.

And if we care to take the time, we can opt out in writing and offer our rationale for doing so in quintuplicate to anybody and everybody remotely related to "the school."

Which is what I'll be doing within the next week.

fischbobber's picture

I have my doubts

Examples of questions on the Secondary survey:
In this class, my teacher accepts nothing less than our full effort.
My teacher takes the time to summarize what we learn each day.

I have my doubts as to whether or not this constitutes a fair representation of what they are attempting to find out.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I recall sitting with my daughter some years back as she completed online job applications for minimum wage employers. Those Tripod Project questions KCS is posing strike me as not unlike the ones my daughter answered as part of the prospective employers' "psychological profiles" now part of their apps.

But I concede that I don't know what the blazes the prospective employers do with that garbage, either...

fischbobber's picture

Years ago

I took a test like this to determine if I was management material. The questions were so redundant I spent hours cross checking answers. I'm not in management, but then, that's probably not where I belong. If I wasn't in charge and was merely expected to be a good dog, I wouldn't be happy.

I still want to see this test. I haven't a clue what they're trying to find out or do, and I want to see first hand what exactly is going on.

Treehouse's picture

Fair? Good grief

That is so subjective and I tend to dislike all or nothing questions and always or never questions. I imagine many students (like me) would say "no" because of the style of the question/statement.

CE Petro's picture

Well I don't have children in

Well I don't have children in the school system, but after taking a look at the "sample" questions on the student survey section of the website, I don't know that I would want my child completing this without me, particularly in the lower grades.

"Student Perception" surveys seem to be incredibly subjective.

While clicking around the site I came upon this gem:

The MET Project found that Tripod surveys are predictive of student achievement gains and are a stable, reliable measure of effective teaching.

subjective questions and answers of students will not lead to a "reliable measure of effective teaching." It simply cannot. Every child is different, every child's learning style is different, as are teaching styles. Sometimes these styles mesh, sometimes they don't. When learning and teaching styles don't mesh, that does not mean the teacher is bad, it just means that teachers teaching style is not conducive to one particular child's learning style.

What has our school system come to?

JAS's picture

Principal response

I just got a response from my child's principal stating "It does not count for teacher evaluations at all. Right now it is only used as a piece to inform teachers on how students perceive them."

Letter to go home basically is a written version of robocall yesterday.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Oops--I acknowledged Sandra's earlier clarification to this effect in comments, but neglected to go back and change the heading on my article.

I just changed it with your (second) reminder. Thanks.

JAS's picture

So why do it if the data

So why do it if the data (really, from a six year old?) isn't going to be used beyond "informing"? Just another thing to take time away from what our teachers are to be doing TEACHING!!

Enough already KCS!

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