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[Susan notes: If these papers received LOTS of letters, based on Krashen's model, we could make a difference.]

Published in Los Angeles Daily News
09/03/2010

To the editor


Ramon Cortines and Arne Duncan are convinced that using increases in standardized test scores for evaluating teachers is a good idea ("Cortines: LAUSD's success depends on continued embracing of reforms," August 25).

But these "value-added" evaluations are unstable. Teachers' ratings based on previous years are weak predictors of test scores at the end of a year with new students; a teacher who succeeds in boosting scores with one group will not necessarily succeed with others. Also, different tests result in different value-added scores for the same teacher.

In addition, there are ways of pumping up test scores without student learning, including teaching test-taking strategies and making sure weak students don't take the test.

We all want accountability. Value-added ratings are not the way to get it.

Stephen Krashen


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