Opinion: Judging Teachers of ELLs by Test Scores Is a Bad Idea

By Mary Ann Zehr — August 24, 2009 1 min read
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Now that California may put itself in the running for Race to the Top Funds by altering its laws to permit districts to link teacher evaluations to student test scores, some folks are speaking out about what this would mean in that state.

Duane Campbell of Choosing Democracy blog argues that it does not make sense to evaluate the performance of teachers of ELLs based on state standardized tests because those tests are not valid and reliable for that group of students. His comment is posted to a commentary written by education historian Diane Ravitch and published by the Huffington Post.

Here’s an excerpt of the comment:

In many classrooms, up to one-third of the students are English-language learners. If you use these test results to measure the teachers or the schools, teachers working with ELL students will always score low. To use these scores to evaluate teachers would be unfair, inaccurate, and poorly informed.

Would anyone like to say an “amen?” Or counter this point?

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.