Testing Abuse

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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Wrong way to judge teachers

Wednesday, Nov. 07, 2012 | 12:00 AModified Tue, Nov 06, 2012 04:24 PM

If the Fresno and Central Unified Race To The Top applications are accepted, their teachers will be subject to a significant miscarriage of justice. When you attempt to evaluate teachers on student test scores, something is terribly awry. These tests are not designed to judge teachers, so they fail the most important criteria for validity. At least 85% of test score variability is due to factors outside of the classroom, experiences with which the teacher has no control.

Teachers would be judged on such things as students' family ethnicity, income, language and parent education. Also, the essay-writing a student may learn through his history teacher might be credited to his English teacher. The math he learns in his math class perhaps should be credited to his physics teacher.

The RAND Corporation concluded that the research base is insufficient to support the use of test scores for high-stakes decisions about individual teachers or schools. Our own National Research Council, Board on Testing and Assessment has spoken out against judging teachers on test scores.

The most highly respected education systems in the world like Finland and Singapore do not use test scores in evaluating their teachers. So, why do we persist?

Rog Lucido