Teachers to the Test

TEACHERWISE

Teachers to the Test

by Amanda M. Fairbanks

Evaluating educators based on their students’ exam
scores is misguided and threatens reform efforts.

GREAT NECK, N.Y. — On September 2, the day her principal shared each teacher’s annual evaluation, Sheri Lederman came home from work and announced to her husband that she was ready to quit.

In the span of one year, Lederman’s score dropped 13 percentage points. Suddenly, she was demoted from an “effective” teacher to an “ineffective” one. It was enough to make her head spin. After all, this marks Lederman’s 18th year in the classroom. She teaches fourth grade at the Elizabeth M. Baker Elementary School in Great Neck, a middle-class suburb about 20 miles from New York City.

A statewide teacher ranking system was implemented in 2012 and changed how educators were assessed. Nearly half of Lederman’s score—40 percent—was tied to her students’ test scores and the…

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