Teacher evaluations to be more dependent on student test scores - WNEM TV 5

Teacher evaluations to be more dependent on student test scores

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Michigan teachers are seeing an increase in their evaluations based off of student test scores.

“It's about a snapshot. That's what a test is. It's a snapshot of who they are,” said Sue Rutherford.

But now that snapshot is not only reflective of the student, but the teacher as well.

Rutherford is a director for the Michigan Education Association and she isn’t pleased about the increased reliance on test scores.

Teacher evaluations are based on a number of things, but more so now on student's test scores.

Last year the evaluation was 25 percent student test scores, this coming school year it will be 50

“Well I think what's happening, unfortunately, when I talk to teachers they are saying they lose a lot of teachable moments,” Rutherford said. “And they're being asked to really focus on what those tests are really asking and we're teaching to the test.”

These evaluations come into play when a district needs to lay off teachers.

And in an area where that can be a reality, it has many people wondering if student test scores are a good measurement.

Rutherford said increasing reliance on test scores could be a motivation for teachers to help students to better on tests.

But in reality, she said that can be a problem in urban districts.

Many students don't do well because of their home situation.

“If they've had some trauma on at home, if there's something happening in their life we're unaware of, they don't have any choice to say well, OK we won't give you the test today, we'll wait,” Rutherford said. “They're still required to take it and if they do poorly it reflects poorly on the teacher.”

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