In one recent news story surrounding the flare-up over \”value added\” teaching assessment – there was also a big story in the L.A. Times last week – there’s a comment that goes to show that we’re so far from coming to terms with what’s wrong with traditional education, it simply amazes me.
The whole “value-added” thing is the idea that it’s worth evaluating teachers by how much improvement can be measured year-over-year, by test scores. If student A scores a 76 in one year and an 83 the following year, the teacher has “added value” – helped the student to improve beyond what would be expected or typical. So we’ll then pay this teacher more – they’re a better teacher. Never mind this form of teacher evaluation – save that.
The problem is that there are still supposedly intelligent people in the field who can casually toss-off remarks like “Test scores — that is, measuring students’ knowledge and skills….”. What?! Test scores DO NOT measure knowledge and skills… is this not common knowledge in the field yet? That’s scary. We all know, or so I thought, that test scores measure “knowing the answers to certain questions” – that by itself is not evidence of “knowledge” nor “skills”.
To make matters worse, this whole teacher evaluation approach appears to have some traction around the country. This means that teachers will have no choice but to comply and “get their test scores up” in order to get a good evaluation. You got it: more teaching to the test, less real learning, less concern for the learner… we’re going backwards here. You read it here first. Give if five years of so and this will be the “unseen” or “unintended” result and we’ll have another problem, another “great idea” piled on the heap and more years of more students poorly served and undereducated.
Education evolution, revolution…. where are you?