I thought BMG folks who are passionate about (or at least interested in) public education and education policy would like to know about a new FairTest report on the state’s proposed teacher evaluation system, which our authors — educators and analysts from the elementary, secondary and university levels — critique for recommending an expensive and burdensome set of new tests and testing bureaucracy at a time when school districts are cutting to the bone and beyond. We see other flaws and problems with the proposal as well.
The FairTest press release reads, in part:
A proposed teacher evaluation system scheduled for a June 28 vote by the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is deeply flawed, potentially damaging, and should not be approved, according to a new report from a group of educators and analysts assembled by the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest). The report, “Flawed Massachusetts Teacher Evaluation Proposal Risks Further Damage to Teaching and Learning” is being released today and criticizes the state’s proposal for five major defects:
• It will require districts to use MCAS test scores to judge educators.
• It will require districts to evaluate every teacher in every grade and subject with two “assessments” each academic year, forcing districts to make or purchase dozens of new tests at a time of budget cutbacks and teacher layoffs.
• It relies on pseudo-scientific “growth” or “value-added” measures that are unable to adequately distinguish good teachers from bad, according to a report from the National Research Council and studies by independent experts.
• It will increase pressure to teach to low-level tests and drive good teachers away from working where they are most needed; and
• It will damage the learning environment by forcing teachers to “compete” for high-scoring students instead of cooperating to improve learning for all.
Again, you can read the whole report and/or an executive summary here.