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Eight Reasons Not to Tie Teacher Pay to Standardized Test Results

Original post made by the The on Mar 19, 2010

I don't want poor teachers but are evaluations based on test scores the answer? This might shine some light on the issue. I might also add that until we have national standards comparing teachers in our city and state to those in other parts of the country is impossible.

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Comments (14)

Posted by Tests are a good way to evaluate teachers, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2010 at 5:05 am

From a parent point of view, I can tell you that kids who learn and know the material do well on the tests.

Every student is expected to take SATs to get into college, and that is a standardized test. Tests are valid, and if teachers are doing their job and making sure the students are learning, test results would be a good way to evaluate a teacher. After all, districts like to talk about the percentage of kids who get into 4 year colleges, that means they think the test scores are important, right? Without SATs, students could not go straight to a 4 year university. And greatschools.net uses results of the STAR and other tests to rate the schools, and parents look at that when making decisions about schooling for their kids.

The problem with some teachers today is that they expect the students to learn on their own. There is no effort on their part to make sure students learn.

Other teachers are excellent and their only goal is to make sure a student learns. They do everything they can to engage the students, they get creative and somehow earn the respect of their students, who in turn perform well as a result.

Yes, I think we need to make a distinction between the good and the bad teachers.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 19, 2010 at 5:39 am

There are 300,000+ teachers in CA. That is enough for statistical analysis. There is little need to compare with teachers across the US.

Regarding the 'report' you link to. It says:
Reason #1: Tying test scores to teacher compensation suggests that teachers are holding back on using their experience, expertise, and time because they are not being paid for the extra effort.

I have never experienced in PUSD any teacher who would even be close to fitting this description. I have experienced several who were incompetent in many dimensions and should be performance managed out.

I don't put much validity into the report.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Mar 19, 2010 at 7:22 am

Just as schools should not be chosen solely on testing results, teachers shouldn't either. Test results can be helpful in finding areas where instruction needs to be strengthened--all the way down to a particular class. That, I think, can be helpful in helping a teacher through coaching and professional development, but it can be the materials or even a group of students. However, a couple years of data could tell you if the weakness is a trend. I believe there needs to be expectations and goals and observation and collaboration and many components to measuring performance that should include test results as one of those components. Doing nothing, not having a better system in place, not getting to a plan to try something different, certainly that isn't serving teachers, students or parents well.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 19, 2010 at 8:36 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I think this post stems from a belief that the national conversation about evaluating teachers on test scores is about evaluating teachers ONLY on test scores. I have yet to see such a proposal.

Kathleen seems to sum things up pretty well.


Posted by Test are good, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2010 at 9:27 am

"Just as schools should not be chosen solely on testing results, teachers shouldn't either."

Agree. As parents, we look at test scores first, then go visit the schools and community to make a final decision.

Perhaps for teachers, scores should be looked at first and go from there. Teachers whose students are not performing well on the tests should at that point be given evaluations, etc, to see what is causing the problem: is it that we have a bad teacher or does that teacher happen to have all the problem kids from one school?

Test scores however should be used for evaluating teachers, and the current CTA position of not doing so is interfering with neecessary school reforms.


Posted by Teacher, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Mar 19, 2010 at 10:32 am

Let us not forget what the darlings at Foothill did a few years ago when "sex" dancing was not allowed at high school dances. Several students did poorly on the STAR test and did so on purpose. It was payback for being told they could not dance sexually on school property. Do we really want to put that much responsibility on children who don't even have the right to vote? Or the right to drive a car anywhere except for work and school?


Posted by J, a resident of Castlewood
on Mar 19, 2010 at 3:22 pm

I agree with teacher above. At the high school level, it's scary to think of giving the kids that much say over their teacher's job security. I think it can lead to grade inflation and lowered expectations because the most popular teachers will be the ones who don't push the kids too much.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 19, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

J wrote: "it's scary to think of giving the kids that much say over their teacher's job security"

Sure that would be scary and totally inappropriate. I've never been at a company where my professional evaluation was tied to what a customer thought of me, have you? I think the idea of using test scores in teacher evaluations gets blown way out of proportion. There's preconceived notions of what it means. If a teacher evaluation system that used test scores weighted their use lower than other measurements, that'd still be using test scores as part of the evaluation, but is a far cry from teachers getting fired because their students thought poorly of them!


Posted by nancy s, a resident of California Somerset
on Mar 19, 2010 at 9:15 pm

I agree with teacher and J. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard my kids friends talk about how they purposely mismark the scantrons for the STAR testing. They think it is funny. Instead of making the test anonymous, have the kids put there ID on it...that will stop all the fun and games with the tests


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2010 at 9:56 pm

"I've never been at a company where my professional evaluation was tied to what a customer thought of me, have you?"

Maybe you've never worked in sales?

At any rate, we have higher priorities now than worrying about this. The problem at hand is to close the funding gap imposed by forces outside Pleasanton and California. We need to do that with higher revenues.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Mar 19, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Have you worked in sales? I'm good friends with someone who works in sales and let me tell you, for any of the other skills (like writing) this person is pretty poor (email in all caps!) but this person is a great people person and this person makes more sales than the other sales people. This person gets by their selling ability, not by what customers think of him.


Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair
on Mar 19, 2010 at 11:22 pm

To 'a reader' - It is always a good time to insure one has the best teachers on the staff. There is no excuse for having a poor performing teacher around our kids.


Posted by a reader, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2010 at 10:52 am

"It is always a good time to insure one has the best teachers on the staff. "

Of course if there is a teacher not performing his or her duties, fixing that problem is always a high priority.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Anyone even question what is on these tests? Who makes them up and who decides what gets tested. We know that the company the creates the SATs have had trouble with the questions and how the tests are scored. A couple of years ago, they admitted to having scored tests incorrectly and would not correct the mistake impacting many students and their college admission.

We are not producing widgets. These are kids subject to all sorts of pressure. We need to be accountable and human about it at the same time.


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