We invite you to add your name to the below statement, initiated by ten prominent education scholars, that urges policymakers to not pursue heavy reliance on test scores for evaluating, rewarding and removing teachers. Links to relevant research on this issue are listed below. Please sign up and tell your friends and colleagues to do so as well. Thank you for your interest.Lawrence Mishel | President, Economic Policy Institute
The heavy use of VAM in a teacher evaluation system will misidentify large numbers of both effective and ineffective teachers. Leading authorities (such as the Board on Testing and Assessment of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Education, and researchers from RAND and the Educational Testing Service and a recent Economic Policy Institute paper by a group of prominent scholars, Problems With the Use of Student Test Scores to Evaluate Teachers) concur that VAM is too inaccurate to be used as the primary way to evaluate teachers. Most uses of test scores in teacher evaluation, in practice, actually fall far short of the flawed VAM measures because of a lack of appropriate data and the adoption of weaker statistical methods.
Adopting an invalid teacher evaluation system and tying it to rewards and sanctions is likely to lead to inaccurate personnel decisions and to demoralize teachers, causing talented teachers to avoid high-needs students and schools, or to leave the profession entirely, and discouraging potentially effective teachers from entering it. Educational outcomes will suffer as a consequence.Besides concerns about the accuracy of statistical methodologies, other practical and policy considerations weigh against heavy reliance on student test scores to evaluate teachers. Research shows that an excessive focus on basic math and reading scores can lead to narrowing and over-simplifying the curriculum to only the subjects and formats that are tested, reducing the attention to science, history, the arts, civics, and foreign language, as well as to writing, research, and more complex problem solving tasks.
Although standardized test scores of students are one piece of information for school leaders to use to make judgments about teacher effectiveness, such scores should be only a part of an overall comprehensive evaluation.
Legislatures should not mandate and districts should not pursue a test-based approach to teacher evaluation that is unproven and likely to harm not only teachers but the children they instruct.
Eva L. BakerPaul E. BartonLinda Darling-HammondEdward HaertelHelen F. LaddRobert L. LinnDiane RavitchRichard RothsteinRichard J. ShavelsonLorrie A. Shepard
Problems with the Use of Student Test Scores to Evaluate Teachers | Economic Policy InstituteLink here to add your name.
Letter Report to the U.S. Department of Education on the Race to the Top Fund | National Academy of Sciences
Using Student Progress to Evaluate Teachers: A Primer on Value-Added Models | Educational Testing Service
Getting Value Out of Value-Added: Report of a Workshop | National Research Council
Evaluating Value-Added Models for Teacher Accountability | RAND Corporation
The Stability of Value-Added Measures of Teacher Quality and Implications for Teacher Compensation Policy | National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research
Error Rates in Measuring Teacher and School Performance Based on Student Test Score Gains | U.S. Department of Education
For a full list of resources, click here.