"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The wrong way to evaluate teachers

Sent to the Los Angeles Daily News, April 13

LAUSD stubbornly insists on evaluating teachers on gains students make on standardized tests, called "value-added" scores ("LAUSD unveils plan to evaluate teachers, principals," April 12). This is a bad idea.

Different tests produce different value-added scores, and teachers' value-added ratings can vary from year to year, sometimes quite a bit.

Also, using value-added scores for evaluation encourages gaming the system, trying produce increases in test scores by teaching test-taking strategies, not by encouraging real learning. This is like putting a match under the thermometer and claiming you have raised the temperature of the room.

Stephen Krashen


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