Should Test Scores Be Used to Evaluate Teachers?By Wall Street Journal
How much to credit—and blame—teachers for student performance is an issue that continues to confound the education field. To what extent is each student’s progress directly attributable to the teacher’s efforts? What other factors can determine a student’s success? Is there a way to measure each factor separately, including the teacher’s influence?
These are just some of the questions that surround the issue of whether student test scores should be used to evaluate teacher performance.
Some say it’s unfair to base teacher personnel decisions on student test scores. Students have different levels of ability and commitment, and different experiences outside the classroom. No two students get exactly the same amount of parental support.
Others say that student test scores give an incomplete view but provide a starting point, a basic means of comparison. Combined with reports from trained classroom observers and surveys of how students rate their teachers, supporters say, the test scores may be very useful indeed.
Thomas Kane, a professor of education and economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the faculty director for the Center for Education Policy Research, argues in favor of using test scores in evaluating teachers. Linda Darling-Hammond, the Charles E. Ducommun professor of education and faculty co-director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, Stanford University, argues against.
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