Pixaline / Pixabay


During the summer, I published New Study Finds That – Surprise, Surprise – Evaluating A High School On Student Test Scores Misses The Boat.

Here’s an excerpt from that post:

They found that students,  particularly those facing the most life and academic challenges – gain some of the greatest long-term benefits from aspects of a school that are not measured by test scores.

Through student surveys, and data like suspensions, absences, arrests, graduation, college enrollment and persistence, the study’s authors suggest that Social Emotional Learning (they call it Social Emotional Development) practices are what makes the difference.


This month, another study – that’s also not behind a paywall – reinforced those findings.

Teachers and Students’ Postsecondary Outcomes: Testing the Predictive Power of Test and Nontest Teacher Quality Measures is by Benjamin Backes, James Cowan, Dan Goldhaber, Roddy Theobald.

Here’s an excerpt:

Test-based teacher quality measures have more explanatory power for outcomes relevant for students at the top of
the achievement distribution such as attending a more selective college, while nontest measures have more explanatory power for whether students graduate from high school and enroll in college at all.

In other words,  the teachers who are most successful in helping high-academic-performing students raise their test scores can help their students get into more selective colleges and universities.

The teachers who are most effective in increasing non-test metrics (course grades, suspensions, attendance, and grade promotion) are the ones who are most successful in getting those students who might face more challenges to enroll in college…period.

Perhaps those districts who have prioritized teacher valued-added ratings emphasizing test scores might want to consider revisiting that policy (see The Best Resources For Learning About The “Value-Added” Approach Towards Teacher Evaluation).