An archive of articles and listserve postings of interest, mostly posted without commentary, linked to commentary at the Education Notes Online blog. Note that I do not endorse the points of views of all articles, but post them for reference purposes.
Friday, September 14, 2012
Standardized test scores are worst way to evaluate teachers
COMMENTARY BY ISABEL NUNEZ
September 12, 2012 7:26PM http://www.suntimes.com/news/otherviews/15107882-452/standardized-test-scores-are-worst-way-to-evaluate-teachers.html
As a university professor and
educational researcher, I sometimes feel like I’m in that old ’50s
horror movie, “The Blob.” Remember that one, where an invader from outer
space grows with everything it eats, until it is a giant monster that
threatens the entire town? Testing has done the same to education,
harming students and schools — and is now poised to bring down the whole
enterprise by taking over teacher and principal evaluation.
I am part of a group called CReATE, or Chicagoland Researchers and
Advocates for Transformative Education, which is trying to unite the
voices of academics in opposition to these changes and to the corporate
takeover of public education. We are trying to spread the message that
what is happening in our schools today is not supported by the research.
Standardized testing has become monstrous, which
brings us to the proposed changes to teacher evaluation: the latest and
worst use of testing so far. The Chicago Public Schools are planning to
implement evaluations based in part on student test scores this school
year. Terror at this prospect prompted CReATE to gather 88 signers on an
open letter criticizing the plan, which we hand-delivered to the mayor,
schools CEO and the Board of Education.
This new evaluation plan alone makes a strike no “choice” at all.
First, testing is not the way we should measure
student growth. Large-scale educational testing was born in the early
1900s at a particular time in history: the industrial revolution. Some
might argue that this was appropriate when preparing for the early 20th
century work force, but in today’s globalized, information-based
economy, “student growth” must be more meaningfully defined and
Next, if we are going to make the mistake of
reducing student growth to a line graph, we must at the very least abide
by the principles of measurement. The discipline of testing, called
psychometrics, is governed by rules, and the new system of evaluation
breaks some of the most fundamental rules.