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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 3, 2013 at 6:55 AM

Using test scores to evaluate teachers

Teachers and parents should stop whining

Everyone is tired of Seattle area teachers whining right around school start time. This time it is about using test scores to judge them. [“Teachers vote down contract proposal,” NW Tuesday, Aug. 27.]

I have two issues with this anti-test-score perspective.

First, if tests are good enough to affect or determine the future success of the children (for example, whether they go to college), they should be good enough to determine a qualitative review of the teacher.

Second, if teachers were confident the children would do well at these tests, they wouldn’t have this issue.

The curriculum does not support test success. This is not because tests are an irrelevant distraction, it’s because of the parents selfish impact on curriculum.

Over the past decades, in the name of progress, the curriculum at almost all public schools has been softened, and made more entertaining and fun.

The rhetoric around that is that it encourages learning. The resulting curriculum gives kids higher grades, and makes parents happy, so they don’t complain to the teachers and/or school board. Of course, parents don’t want their kids to have homework, because it takes away from things they enjoy more, such as their children playing sports.

Test scores are, for the majority of able students, a good barometer of their ability to focus and succeed in the world after school is done. We should embrace them, and so should the teachers. What stands in the way is the parents, who should be calling for a more rigorous curriculum at school.

Gretchen Marks, Seattle

 

Comments | More in Education, Seattle | Topics: education, evaluation, public schools

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