Across the country, school districts are implementing something called “value-added measures” in determining teacher bonuses, evaluations, and in the case of Washington D.C., even their jobs. “Value-added” means that teachers are judged based on student performance on standardized tests. They’re touted as “objective” even if “not perfect” (a euphemism for “not accurate.”)
How not accurate?
Twenty-five to thirty-five percent, according to this Washington Post article “Study: Error rates high when student test scores used to evaluate teachers” by Valerie Strauss, July 29th, 2010.
Here in Seattle, the school superintendent tried to implement a Washington DC-style policy that would let her fire teachers based on a value-added measure. The teacher’s union fought back hard, but remnants of it are still in the labor contract. I’ll be keeping my eye out to see what the district does. As a parent, I support my kids’ teachers!