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Teaching to the test
September 13, 2012 - Jim Anderson
Why the obsession with test scores?
In Chicago, where teachers are striking, Illinois law requires that at least 25 percent of a teacher’s rating be based on student test scores. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants that to eventually rise to 40 percent.
According to the Education Commission of the States, standardized test scores in at least 13 states now account for 50 percent or more of a teacher’s rating, the New York Times reports.
Standardized tests are a valuable tool, but this goes too far.
Are we educating children or robots?
And what’s the point? No one could reasonably argue that standardized tests are the be-all and end-all of knowledge, adaptability, creativity, values and — here’s one for you — common sense.
So why send that message to both teachers and students?
In many professions, yes, you have to pass a test to be certified. You have to pass a test, as well, to get a driver’s license.
But the tests that rate teachers are not simply about minimum standards. They measure student growth. Test scores must get better.
In his spare time, Leonardo does a painting, but his math score drops. Teacher gets fired. Make any sense to you?
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