Monday, December 05, 2011


Editorial in the UCLA Daily Bruin by GINA KASS |

December 5, 2011, 12:07 am :: The Los Angeles teachers’ union and the Los Angeles Unified School District are currently in dispute over a proposed new method of teacher evaluation which takes into account standardized test scores. This began after a legal challenge posed by the teachers’ union was dropped.

The two groups have arrived at a temporary truce, agreeing that changes need to be implemented to the current system but disagreeing on what that entails, according to the Los Angeles Times.

This comes in the wake of a New York state controversy over new teacher evaluations, which caused a “principal’s revolt,” in which more than 650 principals from around New York state signed a letter opposing the changes, according to The New York Times.

The New York principals call the teacher evaluations “untested” and compare the use of students’ test scores in teacher evaluations to “using a meter stick to weigh a person.”

Another argument presented in the letter points out that placing the focus on test scores will cause the student-teacher relationship to deteriorate as learning becomes an impersonal process and enriching programs, like the arts, are ignored.

This is a problem at the very core of standardized testing: Focus is taken away from extracurriculars such as the visual and performing arts, which help provide a student with a well-rounded education. Standardized testing promotes a mentality too attached with a “bubble in the correct answer” view of education and intellectualism. A good teacher not only teaches a student the correct answer but also demonstrates to them that there are more creative ways of thinking than a scantron can allow for.

The L.A. teachers’ union and the New York principals are right to stand up to the unfair use of standardization to judge their capabilities.

These are dedicated teachers who serve in the classroom and realize that every student thinks differently and their success cannot be defined by a test score.

No two classes are the same – they consist of students with individual backgrounds that can influence their test scores. Using one test as a blanket method is erroneous.

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