Philanthropist Bill Gates has penned an op-ed in The Washington Post, in which he warns that hastily chosen teacher-evaluation measures, including a sole or predominant focus on student test scores, run the risk of bringing down the entire effort to improve teacher reviews.
"As states and districts rush to implement new teacher development and evaluation systems, there is a risk they'll use hastily contrived, unproven measures," Gates writes in the piece. "One glaring example is the rush to develop new assessments in grades and subjects not currently covered by state tests. Some states and districts are talking about developing tests for all subjects, including choir and gym, just so they have something to measure."
Exhibit A: A gym teacher evaluation instrument that lists improvement in students' "skipping technique" among measures that would be used to judge teacher performance. (The Thomas B. Fordham Institute also wrote about this example just a week ago.)
Gates goes on to say that he understands teachers' concerns about using standardized tests, noting that while there "is justification for rewarding teachers based in part on how their students perform, compensation systems should use multiple measures, including classroom observation," and should help teachers collaborate and access opportunities to improve their craft.
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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc