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[Susan notes: Short and to the point, this letter is a good model for everybody to use.]

Published in New York Post

To the editor

The Issue: The new teacher-evaluation system, which will take into account student reviews and test scores.

[ New teacher evaluation plan will finally hold instructors accountable]

Test-score gains should not be included at all. Studies have shown that rating teachers using test-score gains does not give consistent results. Different tests produce different ratings, and the same teacherĂ¢€™s ratings can vary from year to year, sometimes quite a bit.

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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