Sunday, October 24, 2010
Parade Magazine this week features an interview with Bill Gates about education reform. Needless to say he offers a lot of condemnation of teachers - notably lacking any sense of student accountability or consideration of decreased student motivation in the stagnation of "test scores."
Parade also features a poll question: "Should teachers be judged on their students' test scores?"
Obviously, teachers shouldn't be absolved of any responsibility. Yet, most discussions of this idea outside of people in education ignore the responsibility of the students, parents, and communities.
In some test formats, such as AP and IB, it is certainly reasonable to consider teacher performance. The key is that the test must have buy-in and accountability for the students, as well as the teachers. That is often the key for charter school success as well. If the student has some incentive, or more importantly, something to lose, the test will certainly have greater validity.