Don’t use test scores to judge teacher quality

Reblogged from The Boston Globe by Diane Ravitch

The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill repealing the mandate to use test scores in evaluating teacher quality. The approval of the House is needed to enact the bill. The Legislature should act promptly to endorse this bill. Test-based teacher evaluation has been discredited everywhere it has been tried and has been rejected by knowledgeable scholars. Massachusetts should abandon this harmful policy (as Oklahoma, Hawaii, and Houston recently did). The public needs to learn more about why this policy consistently fails.

The idea that teachers should be evaluated by the test scores of their students was a central tenet in former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top program. Massachusetts won a federal grant of $250 million in 2011 and agreed to follow Duncan’s wishes, including this untried method of evaluating teachers. The US Department of Education handed out $5 billion to states to promote test-based evaluation and privately managed charter schools. In addition, the Gates Foundation gave away hundreds of millions of dollars to five urban districts to use test scores to evaluate teachers.

Evaluating teachers by test scores has not raised scores significantly anywhere. Good teachers have been fired by this flawed method. Read more>>