Evaluating Teachers

The Los Angles Times today (June 15, 2013) carried an extensive article indicating that California is resisting the federal government’s insistence that standardized test results be used for evaluating teachers. Such resistance should not only be applauded but should also be followed by other states.

Using standardized tests to evaluate teacher performance is a political, not an educational, decision. No research justifies the use of such tests for this purpose. In fact, using any standardized test for this purpose is invalid and unreliable. There are just too many extraneous factors.

If we really want to improve teaching, we should look to develop models of effective evaluation rather than pursuing problematic schemes that measure teachers, create disincentives for teaching hi-need students, offer no useful feedback on how to improve teaching practice, and risk driving some of the best teachers out of the profession.