"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Surprise! Test-Based Incentives Don't Increase Achievement

A new report from the National Research Council confirms what most teachers already know...that paying teachers or students for test scores doesn't help achievement levels...rewards or punishment connected to high stakes tests doesn't help anyone.

Valerie Strauss reports in the Answer Sheet at the Washington Post:
Incentive programs for schools, teachers and students aimed at raising standardized test scores are largely unproductive in generating increased student achievement, according to a new report researched by an expert panel of the National Research Council.

The report said that standardized tests commonly used in schools to measure student performance — including high school exit exams and tests in various grades mandated by former president Bush’s No Child Left Behind law — “fall short of providing a complete measure of desired educational outcomes in many ways,” according to a summary of the lengthy document.

The report, together with a number of other studies released in the past year, effectively serve as a warning to policymakers in states that are moving to implement laws, with support from the Obama administration, to make teacher and principal evaluation largely dependent on increases in students’ standardized test scores.
The punitive nature of such testing practices over the last few years is proof enough that the politicians and corporate interests have two goals in mind -- the destruction of the teaching profession and the privatization of America's Public School System.

Let's see where the state and national legislatures go with this information. Will they revise No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top to correspond with the research? Or will they continue to sabotage Public Education and then blame teachers for the problems? What about the states which have already made plans to evaluate teachers based on test scores? Will any of that change or will the evaluations continue as an excuse to blame teachers and their unions? Will the Obama administration change its tune or will Secretary of Education Duncan and President Obama continue to cheer public school closings?

Finally, isn't it time to stop the testing insanity?

Every teacher, parent and tax payer should read this!

Read the entire article in The Answer Sheet.

And while you're at it Read this letter written by eight New York Teachers of the Year.

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UPDATE: More on the National Research Council Report

National Research Council Rebukes NCLB (Duncan-Gates-Broad) Policies Based on "Primitive Intuition"

National Testing Push Yielded Few Learning Advances: Report (VIDEO)

National Research Council Criticizes High-Stakes Testing

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