Many states have adopted a new evaluation system for teachers and principals largely based on student test scores. This is often because people see teachers as being paid too much for a short work day, which ends much earlier than other jobs. However, this is because teachers begin work earlier than these jobs. Most educators are opposed to this new system and in certain areas, they have tried to stop it, namely New York, Massachusetts and the Chicago area. There are many reasons why student test scores do not offer an accurate representation of the teacher’s performance that these movements cite in trying to end this policy.
One of the reasons this is not an effective system of evaluation is that these tests are often reflecting on the work of the students, not the teachers. This is shown in a recent study that says that students are influenced as little as 7.5% to 20% by their teachers. The bigger influence for students is what happens outside of school, especially the way in which they were raised. Social class, disability status, discrimination and knowledge of English are also large factors influencing student performance on an assessment.
Another reason these evaluations are harmful to education is that these assessments will make teachers “teach to the test” instead of to the full curriculum. They may also cause schools to shorten subjects that are not tested by the state, including history, science, art, music and physical education. Also, teachers might try to remove or ignore students who are difficult to teach. Schools may stop teaching communication, cooperation, creativity and other essential skills in order to make students more prepared for the test and receive higher test scores. Overall, evaluating teachers and principals based on student test scores will only damage schools in the country and must be implemented differently or removed to make sure that students are still receiving a full education