Using Test Scores to Evaluate Teachers Is Based on the Wrong Values

Viewpoint in Jan 25 New York Times

“Numerical evaluations of educators, 40 percent of which is based on student test scores and achievement, will damage the relationship between teachers and students, a relationship at the heart of student success.

It will accelerate teaching to tests instead of teaching to the needs of kidsIt will put teachers in the terrible position of wondering whether the performance of their weakest students on a test might be a threat to their careers.

It will make principals hesitate to lead schools where test scores are low.

As a parent of a special education child who attends my school recently confided, “I worry that no one will want to teach a child like my son.”

Advocates of systems like the new evaluation system in New York, however, look to the business world for school improvement ideas. From this perspective, test scores are viewed as analogous to the way a business looks at profits.

These advocates believe that if teachers are in fear of losing their jobs, they will intensify their efforts to raise students’ scores. The focus is the score (the “profit”), not the child.

For these folks, test scores are the bottom line, and these “bottom line” reformers believe that what gets measured gets done.

Educators have a different belief. We believe that what is nurtured grows.”

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