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[Susan notes: The match under the thermometer metaphor makes the point in a fine way--and will stick in readers' minds.]

Submitted to Los Angeles Times but not published
08/20/2012

To the editor





A Capitol Force (August 19) claims that educational groups such as the California Teachers Union are opposed to increased teacher accountability. Not so. These groups are opposed to using measures that base teacher ratings on student test scores.



A number of studies have shown that rating teachers using test score gains does not give consistent results. Different tests produce different ratings, and the same teacher's ratings can vary from year to year, sometimes quite a bit.



In addition, using test score gains for evaluation encourages gaming the system, trying to produce increases in scores by teaching test-taking strategies, not by encouraging real learning. This is like putting a match under the thermometer and claiming you have raised the temperature of the room.



We are all interested in finding the best ways of evaluating teachers, but using student test-score gains is a lousy way to do it.

Stephen Krashen


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