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Economic Policy institutE • 1333 H strEEt, nWsuitE 300, East toWErWasHington, Dc 20005202.775.8810WWW.EPi.org
EPI BRIEFING PAPER
EcoNomIc PolIcy INstItutE
AuGust 29, 2010
BRIEFING PAPER #278
Problems with the Use ostUdent test scores toevalUate teachers
 
co-aUthored by scholars convened bythe economic Policy institUte:
Eva l. BakEr, Paul E. Barton, linDa Darling-HammonD,EDWarD HaErtEl, HElEn F. laDD, roBErt l. linn, DianE ravitcH,ricHarD rotHstEin, ricHarD J. sHavElson, anD lorriE a. sHEParD
 
Ahr, eah f wh i repnibe fr hi brief a a whe, are iedaphabeia. crrepndene a be addreed 
Educ_Prog@epi.org
.
Eva L. BakEr 
is proessor o education at UCLA, co-director o the National Center or Evaluation Standards andStudent esting (CRESS), and co-chaired the committee to revise testing standards o the American Psychological Association, the American Educational Research Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education.
PauL E. Barton
is the ormer director o the Policy Inormation Center o the Educational esting Service andassociate director o the National Assessment o Educational Progress.
Linda darLing-Hammond
is a proessor o education at Stanord University, ormer president o the AmericanEducational Research Association, and a member o the National Academy o Education.
Edward HaErtEL 
is a proessor o education at Stanord University, ormer president o the National Council onMeasurement in Education, Chair o the National Research Council’s Board on esting and Assessment, and a ormerchair o the committee on methodology o the National Assessment Governing Board.
HELEn F. Ladd
is proessor o Public Policy and Economics at Duke University and president-elect o the Associationor Public Policy Analysis and Management.
roBErt L. Linn
is a distinguished proessor emeritus at the University o Colorado, and has served as president o the National Council on Measurement in Education and o the American Educational Research Association, and aschair o the National Research Council’s Board on esting and Assessment.
dianE ravitcH
is a research proessor at New York University and historian o American education.
ricHard rotHstEin
is a research associate o the Economic Policy Institute.
ricHard J. sHavELson
is a proessor o education (emeritus) at Stanord University and ormer president o the American Educational Research Association.
LorriE a. sHEPard
is dean and proessor, School o Education, University o Colorado at Boulder, a ormerpresident o the American Educational Research Association, and the immediate past president o the National Academy o Education.
 
Economic Policy institutE • 1333 H strEEt, nWsuitE 300, East toWErWasHington, Dc 20005202.775.8810WWW.EPi.org
EPI BRIEFING PAPER
EcoNomIc PolIcy INstItutE
AuGust 29, 2010
BRIEFING PAPER #278
Executive summary
Every classroom should have a well-educated, proessional teacher, and school systems should recruit, prepare, and retainteachers who are qualied to do the job. Yet in practice, American public schools generally do a poor job o systematically developing and evaluating teachers.Many policy makers have recently come to believe that this ailure can be remedied by calculating the improvementin students’ scores on standardized tests in mathematics and reading, and then relying heavily on these calculations toevaluate, reward, and remove the teachers o these tested students. While there are good reasons or concern about the current system o teacher evaluation, there are also good reasonsto be concerned about claims that measuring teachers’ eectiveness largely by student test scores will lead to improvedstudent achievement. I new laws or policies specically require that teachers be red i their students’ test scoresdo not rise by a certain amount, then more teachers might well be terminated than is now the case. But there is notstrong evidence to indicate either that the departingteachers would actually be the weakest teachers, or thatthe departing teachers would be replaced by more eectiveones. Tere is also little or no evidence or the claim thatteachers will be more motivated to improve student learningi teachers are evaluated or monetarily rewarded or studenttest score gains.A review o the technical evidence leads us to concludethat, although standardized test scores o students are onepiece o inormation or school leaders to use to make
Problems with the Use ostUdent test scores toevalUate teachers
 
Eva l. BakEr, Paul E. Barton, linDa Darling-HammonD,EDWarD HaErtEl, HElEn F. laDD, roBErt l. linn, DianE ravitcH,ricHarD rotHstEin, ricHarD J. sHavElson, anD lorriE a. sHEParD
 
table o contents
exu u
.............................................................................1
iu
...........................................................................................5
r  kp
......................................................................5
t  u u
...........................................7
s   f 
................8
P 
.........................................................................14
U g f
.......................................................15
cu  
........................................20
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