Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A bad way to evaluate teachers

Sent to the Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2014

Contrary to Eric Hanushek's statement ("How Teachers Unions Use 'Common Core' to Undermine Reform," June 30), there is no movement by anybody to "eliminate school accountability and teacher evaluations." There is a movement to eliminate the use of standardized test score gains to evaluate teachers, and there is good reason to do so.
A number of studies have shown that rating teachers using test score gains does not give consistent results. Different tests produce different ratings, and the same teacher’s ratings can vary from year to year, sometimes quite a bit.

In addition, using test score gains for evaluation encourages gaming the system, trying to produce increases in scores by teaching test-taking strategies, not by encouraging real learning. This is like putting a match under the thermometer and claiming you have raised the temperature of the room.

We are all interested in finding the best ways of evaluating teachers, but using student test-score gains is a very inaccurate way to do it.

Stephen Krashen

Original story: http://online.wsj.com/articles/eric-hanushek-how-teachers-unions-use-common-core-to-undermine-reform-1404170334

Some sources:
Different tests produce different ratings: Papay, J. 2010. Different tests, different answers: The stability of teacher value-added estimates across outcome measures. American Educational Research Journal 47,2.
Vary from year to year: Sass, T. 2008. The stability of value-added measures of teacher quality and implications for teacher compensation policy. Washington DC: CALDER. (National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Educational Research.) Kane, T. and Staiger, D. 2009. Estimating Teacher Impacts on Student Achievement: An Experimental Evaluation. NBER Working Paper No. 14607 http://www.nber.org/papers/w14607;

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