Earlier today, I posted about New York Principal Carol Burris’ great article on how using test scores to evaluate hurts students.
I sent it to our school’s principal, Ted Appel (who has shared his thoughts on educational policy in previous posts here) to get his reaction. He liked it a lot, and shared these ideas on other ways their use in teacher evaluation can hurt students:
Using test scores to evaluate teachers can also have a significant impact on the inclusion of Special Education students. Fully including students with learning and other disabilities is not only a civil right, but pedagogically supported by research. While many special education students may struggle academically in “regular” education classes, and score poorly on standardized tests, there are significant social and emotional benefits to inclusion. Evaluating teachers based on test scores may create resistance to full inclusion for non-pedagogic reasons. And in a strange twist on the argument, some teachers may want special education students in their classes who take the CMA (California Modified Assessment) Students taking these tests may provide a boost to test scores and result in a better evaluation. [These teachers may or may not be the best placement for those students] Either way, what is clear is that using test data for teacher evaluations distorts decision-making away from the best interest of the student.
Using test data to evaluate teachers has another significant impact on middle and high school course selection for students. Schools already rig the system by placing students in less challenging courses in the belief that they will score better in lower level courses. This is particularly true in math and science, which is greatly detrimental to student preparation for college admission and success.
Do you have other ideas on how using test scores in teacher evaluations hurts students?