Putting Education Reform To The Test

Can Schools Depend on Teacher Evaluations?

Amanda Moreno at The Huffington Post attempts to peel apart the arguments used by the education reform advocates against those who oppose high-stakes student testing, performance pay and other measures states are adopting across the country.

Moreno’s piece is sure to provoke an argument, but one section seems worthy of discussion. Moreno notes that a teacher’s performance is as likely to be overestimated by a rating system as it is to be underestimated:

“Research has confirmed this caution, showing that a full one-fourth of teacher ratings will be wrong — in either direction. Thus, you might even say that test-based evaluation is “soft on accountability” since it protects many ineffective teachers.

Test-obsessed reformers have my greatest fear exactly wrong. I am not worried that hoards of qualified teachers will be fired, but rather that the uninspired ones will be left alone.”

If a quarter of teacher ratings are wrong, one way or the other, is fair to base a teacher’s pay on that system? Is it responsible? Can you count on those teacher evaluations?

Florida’s legislature approved a state law requiring school districts develop teacher performance pay systems. Hillsborough County schools are using a $100 million Gates Foundation grant to design a merit pay formula.

Feel free to have it out over the rest of Moreno’s piece as well.


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