A test too far
When it comes to teacher evaluations, states have been making good progress in creating relevant, deliberate, and rigorous appraisal systems that combine test data, classroom observations, and other smart metrics to weigh teacher effectiveness. But have you ever heard of too much of a good thing? New York City is now developing over a dozen pre- and post-course standardized tests for students in elementary through high school, the scores of which will constitute 40 percent of teachers’ evaluations. These tests are for subjects and grades not currently assessed by the statewide Regents system, thereby addressing a serious data shortfall under the present system. Surely tying student results to teacher ratings is a swell idea. But testing overload, and the resulting testing backlash, are serious causes for concern; we worry that this initiative could be the straw the breaks the camel’s back. Experimentation and variation in teacher evaluation models is certainly in order, but this particular version gives us pause.
|Click to listen to commentary on NYC's new tests from the Education Gadfly Show podcast
“Tests for Pupils, But the Grades Go to Teachers,” by Sharon Otterman, New York Times, May 23, 2011.
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