Select Page

In Indiana, educators and legislators have been caught up in the ongoing debate as to whether teacher evaluations and, as a result, teacher pay should be linked to students’ test scores. Considered one of the most controversial aspects of the state’s educational policy, that link seems likely to be headed for the trash heap of abandoned educational reforms.

According to a recent article in the Indianapolis Star, a panel is poised to recommend that the state take student’s ISTEP scores out of the equation when determining the outcome of teacher evaluations. Proponents of the measure say it could cut down on the stress experienced by teachers in performing their responsibilities as teachers.

“We’re taking adult stress and putting it on kids because the adults are stressed out,” said Nicole Fama, a principal and chairman of the panel.

Here are some of the pros and cons listed by educational leaders about the merit of tying teacher evaluations to student test scores:

Standardized tests aren’t accurate measures. Since standardized tests aren’t actually linked to curriculum, they should not be used as viable data for determining performance-based pay schedules, according to Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Using student test scores could build accountability. “We need to hold teachers accountable for ‘How many students were able to be successful in your classroom?'” says Kate Dickson of the Chalkboard Project, an independent group that’s testing the concept in several Oregon school districts. In that state, 99 percent of teachers have received performance evaluations that have met the satisfactory mark each year.

Student test scores is common sense. According to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, grading teachers without taking into consideration student test scores is akin to grading heart surgeons without taking into consideration patient outcomes. It’s “like saying to hospitals, ‘You can evaluate heart surgeons on any criteria you want — just not patient survival rates.’ ”

Test scores as a factor could set a negative tone. Some critics of using student test scores said that it could lead to an unhealthy competitive environment in schools. It could lead to teachers becoming competitive — not collaborative — as they vie for higher pay scale level.

Featured Articles

Education Advanced acquires Standard For Success

Education Advanced acquires Standard For Success

Education Advanced, Inc. (EAI), a leading provider of operations management and workflow solutions for K-12 school districts, announced today the acquisition of Indiana-based Standard for Success (SFS), an independently owned company, founded by teachers, to support educators and administrators with software, services, and solutions.

read more
Graduation Pathways FAQ

Graduation Pathways FAQ

Indiana school advisors, administrators, counselors, and principals all have the important task of tracking graduation pathways for their students. In fact, the Indiana State...

read more
Make the Most of an Evaluation Walkthrough

Make the Most of an Evaluation Walkthrough

In order to provide the most effective learning environment possible, educators need ongoing evaluation and feedback. An evaluation walkthrough is an assessment tool that you can use to provide valuable data regarding how well the implementation of standards-based instruction is occurring. A walkthrough protocol needs to be established to make sure the data is retrieved, examined, and analyzed as efficiently as possible. The following explains the steps to take to successfully implement this process.

read more
Coronavirus and the Impact on High School Graduation

Coronavirus and the Impact on High School Graduation

The beginning of the pandemic in 2020 had major unexpected effects on many aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, this had a huge impact on children’s education, which moved students and educators to remote classrooms online instead of the traditional in-class school days we are all accustomed to.

read more