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The Oct. 18 TimesLedger Newspapers editorial “Encourage Good Teachers,” on the need to move away from teacher evaluations exclusively based on students’ standardized test scores, is right on target.
As the editorial states, “We want teachers who can infuse their students with a love of learning and curiosity about the world and a desire to do something with their lives.” To help teachers achieve that goal, the city should evaluate them in multiple ways that include input from students, parents, colleagues and principals and using qualitative, not just quantitative, measures.
The move toward judging teachers based solely on standardized test scores has fueled a focus on test results to the exclusion of all that is meaningful in education. It has been a disaster for the students of eastern Queens.
Incessant test preparation drills have deadened the curriculum and made the standardized tests a ceiling rather than a floor for what goes on in too many classrooms. Local parents have concerns about how constant test preparation detracts from the real learning their children should be doing. I have spoken to hundreds of parents about this issue, and I have yet to find one who supports the test preparation obsession.
Using tests to evaluate student achievement is reasonable, but using tests to assess teacher performance, thereby causing test prep to dominate classroom activity, is not.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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