What strikes me about the debate over value-added teacher assessment is how much it seems to center on what is fair to teachers, rather than what is best for students. I would be more sympathetic to the arguments against using test scores to measure performance if my profession had not proved so resistant – in practice if not always in theory – to performance-based evaluation. I also believe that parents need all the information they can get.
So, for that matter, do teachers. In re-reading the LA Times article, the account that caught my attention most forcefully was the response of a third grade teacher whom students, parents and administrators all viewed as highly effective but whose test scores showed far less improvement than another (also considered highly effective) third grade teacher down the hall.
This teacher’s response?
“[Linda] Caruso said she was surprised and disappointed by her results, adding that her students did well on periodic assessments and that parents seemed well-satisfied. Still, Caruso said the numbers were important and, like several other teachers interviewed, wondered why she hadn’t been shown such data before by anyone in the district.
“‘If my student test scores show I’m an ineffective teacher, I’d like to know what contributes to it. What do I need to do to bring my average up?'”
Good question. Good teacher, I’d be willing to bet.
So what do you think? We encourage responses from teachers, parents, and administrators – both those of you with technical or professional background in this area and those who simply have something to say. Remember that this blog is based on the assumption that we can engage in a civil dialogue, that we share a common goal of improving education for all of our children and that we want to educate ourselves.
I can be contacted at MMcConnell@desnews.com.