Two voices that I respect have expressed very similar ideas about the use of value-added measures (and, by extension, standardized test scores) in the teacher evaluation process.
Here is a brilliant slide from Bill Ferriter:
Larry Ferlazzo wrote this week about the same issue, using this line,
“Once you include test scores, no matter what percent you include, many teachers will tell you that it quickly becomes the “tail that wags the dog” — it always stays in the back (or front) of your mind.”
He goes on to share some links to alternative plans that show some serious merit.
“What happens when schooling separates content knowledge from thinking skills and measures (and thus teaches) only the former?”
-Grant Wiggins from a recent blog post discussing research findings that call into question the link between standardized tests and the development of cognitive abilities.
I know that it seems like I’m always quoting Wiggins, but his work in grading and assessment overlaps quite a bit with the topics that I am passionate about. He pushes my thinking and validates some of my opinions, so I naturally find his writing intriguing. Here, he dissects the research to find point out that only lessons targeted at specific cognitive skills has been shown to cause significant growth… and a focus on “kill and drill” has done the opposite.
Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post discusses a new meta-analysis (a review of other studies) about single-gender education.
Spoiler Alert: The study shows no statistically significant difference.