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[Susan notes: Again, we MUST follow Stephen's good example--let people know we exist.]

Submitted to New York Daily News but not published

To the editor

Education secretary Arne Duncan ("Let's unleash all data on teachers," August 29) is in favor of using increases (or decreases) in student test scores (known as "value-added" analyses) as a factor in teacher evaluation even though he understands that "even the best data systems won't tell the whole story."

Value-added test scores shouldn't be used at all, because they are unstable and inaccurate: Studies show that different reading tests give different ratings, and a teacher evaluation based on a value-added analysis from one year does a poor job of predicting scores for the next year. Also, value-added ratings are easy to manipulate by teaching students test-taking strategies, which raise scores without increasing learning.

Being opposed to the use of value-added analyses for evaluating teachers does not mean being opposed to evaluating teachers. It means being opposed to inaccurate methods of evaluating teachers

Stephen Krashen

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