May 16, 2011
If the Board of Regents approves a proposal today to double the weight of student test scores in teacher evaluations, they’ll be spurning the advice of 10 leading education researchers.
The researchers — who include Linda Darling-Hammond and New Yorkers Aaron Pallas and Henry Levin — sent a letter to the Regents yesterday that summarizes studies that they say point to problems with basing teacher evaluations on student scores. Those problems include teaching to the test and disincentives to help students with special needs.
“We urge you to reject proposals that would place significant emphasis on this untested strategy that could have serious negative consequences for teacher[s] and for the most vulnerable students in the State’s schools,” the researchers say.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week told the Regents that he thought test scores should play a larger role in teacher evaluations. The state’s year-old teacher evaluation law bases 20 percent of teachers’ evaluations on student test scores and another 20 percent on local measures of student achievement. The proposal being considered today would allow districts, with the approval of their local teachers unions, to use the same measures for both parts of teachers’ evaluations.