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Heavy reliance on test scores for teacher evaluation is misguided. |

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The Economic Policy Institute is circulating a petition led by ten prominent education researchers opposing the misuse of test scores for teacher evaluation. You can sign here…

Too many policymakers have recently adopted the misguided belief that improvements in students’ scores on standardized tests in mathematics and reading can be heavily relied upon to evaluate, reward, and remove the teachers of these tested students. Go to the original…


Mrs. Kathy Ramsey-Tanner — 26 October 2010, 09:19

If standardized test scores are used to evaluate teachers, I have several concerns and the overall outcome does not appear to be positive or productive on the part of any of the stakeholders.

First, being that I’ve worked as a teacher in public education, many times testing is not done well. Scheduling, life, confusion,etc get wrapped up into one, maybe two days of testing. People get sick, people don’t always know what to do, papers get lost or go missing. Children do not usually celebrate this day and especially do they not return with a “Thank you, I’m so glad you tested me today. I wish to do my very best so that I can build up my teacher’s resume and help my school get more money.”

Second, even if the test is norm referenced, valid, etc there is still a margin of error that is important to consider. We cannot and must not make everyone the same---would anyone disagree with this? Does the test take into account someone doing extremely well or extremely poorly? Yes, then how does that help the individual, family, or school? How do I know, as a teacher, if admin didn’t load one classroom up with kids that overperform and another one up with kids that underperform? Why would a teacher want to work with the underperforming kids if his/her job would be on the line all the time?

Lastly, what is the real mission of public education within a democratic society? If we want to team together and really help ALL kids learn, then does it make sense to set up a system of reward and punishment for anyone? If the teacher is reprimanded, can that affect other things within the community? Not to say that we cannot reprimand, but is the system of doing this fair?
In considering these questions and making these points there are so many more that come to mind. My personal belief is that the content of what is being tested only partially includes what we want our children to learn. A test-driven world will naturally purge so much valuable opportunities for children and adults. Is that our mission?

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