With every bubble of knowledge that students darken using their #2 pencils, our nation increases its infatuation with measuring teachers' performance through students' standardized test scores. Despite the intuitive appeal of evaluating teachers based on student learning, heavy reliance on these indicators narrows our view of effective teaching in potentially damaging ways. Recently, the sports world has improved its assessment of athletic performance using advanced metrics and other accountability techniques. Learning from these advances will help us avoid firing good teachers and retaining lousy ones.
First, consider NBA legend Kevin Garnett. If he were a teacher, he would have been rehired this year? Maybe, maybe not. Last year he averaged less than 15 points a game. Decent, but because winning games is ultimately about scoring points, many other players seem more appealing.
However, in the same way that scoring points is merely one aspect of basketball, effective teaching encompasses much more than students' test scores. The NBA has increasingly supplemented traditional statistics like points, rebounds, and assists with more comprehensive, informative measures like"plus-minus" (whether your team outscores the opponent while a particular player is in the game).
To read more, visit the Huffington Post.