Teacher’s Value is More than a Test Score

From a letter to the editor in the Albuquerque Journal, June 30, 2015 by Susan McGrath:

“Let’s pretend you are a doctor.  You have been given 28 patients all with varying degrees of health problems from the common cold to cancer.  You are told you must treat all with the same medicine. How good a doctor you are will be determined based on how many recover?

It doesn’t matter that some of them also suffer from things you have no control over, i.e. food, shelter, environmental stress and mental capabilities.  It doesn’t matter that some doctors have a majority of patients with the common cold and others have a majority of patients with severe disease. Your worth is based only on a percentage of recovery.

Is that fair? Absolutely not. But it’s exactly what happens to a teacher every year. She is given a group of student with varying needs and abilities .  He must feed them all the same curriculum.  Her worth is determined  by how many students raise their test scores.

A gifted student goes from 95 percent to the 97th percent. Oops, sorry, only a 2 percent gain – the teacher is ineffective. A child in special education is reading three grade levels below his age, but must take the same test all other students  take when the teacher knows his percentages will not be up to par.

The two weeks spent taking the test could be better spent actually teaching the child.  The teacher already knows  he is not up to the grade level or he wouldn’t be in special education.

No teacher objects to a fair evaluation, but having one’s worth as a teacher based so heavily on test scores is just not accurate or fair.

I could not have said it better.  Thank you Susan.