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Craig Thurtell interviews Diane Ravitch on the History News Network’s HNN.US

There is no evidence that any state or district has ever successfully implemented a teacher evaluation program linked to student test scores, so Washington is pushing a “reform” that lacks any evidence either as to its real-world effects or its likely problems. Most teachers do not teach subjects that are tested, and no one has come up with a solution to that problem. Most studies of value-added assessment warn that it is not ready for prime time, that many teachers will be wrongly labeled effective or ineffective and that the ratings will be unstable from year to year. The ratings will also vary depending on which test is used. And there will be perverse consequences. As the stakes rise, teachers will be incentivized to narrow the curriculum, to teach to the test, even to cheat. So there are two worrisome possibilities: Either districts will have less time for the arts, history, geography, civics, foreign languages and other studies, or there will be tests for everything. Districts that take the latter course will spend more time and money for testing and test preparation. We may even forget why we educate children, other than to pass tests.

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