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Ratings: Giving Everyone An AYP Rating

ScreenHunter_04 Aug. 16 19.20 Publishing a teacher's value-added rating isn't the same as releasing salary information or sending a letter home to parents telling them that their child's teacher isn't highly qualified in the area of instruction.  It's like releasing someone's annual performance review -- no one does this -- or giving everyone an individual AYP score.  I say this as someone who's more comfortable with accountability and standardized testing than most.  But it seems like a lot of people -- including the Secretary of Education -- are confused right now (or eager, perhaps, to change the subject from the passage of that dreadful edujobs bill).  Value-added assessment of teachers has many potential benefits -- helping principals identify and support effective instruction, helping teachers improve or get out.  Rating teachers publicly has several drawbacks -- giving parents a false sense of certainty, discrediting the value-added approach, hardening teachers' opposition. Just because you can quantify something doesn't mean you should, or that the numbers have any intrinsic magical powers,  or that their release will create any sudden momentum or certainty among parents or lawmakers around providing better schools. The thrilling powers of ratings and statistics quickly fade in the real world, as we've learned from years of school report cards -- what, no parent uprising? -- and past teacher rating goof-ups (like this 2008 Dallas Morning News article about how the district rated teachers for classes they didn't teach).

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And the Education Secretary, who has never taught in a classroom, has endorsed this malpractice.

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