Grading Teachers

I was livid after hearing Peter Cowley in today’s broadcast of Grading Teachers. There are so many problems with his argument it is difficult to know where to begin. Standardized tests are universally panned in research, and in fact they are not “better than nothing.” Standardized tests, amongst other things, leads to “teaching to the test.” The UK had massive problems with this in the nineties, where up to a month or more of classtime was spent solely in prepping students for a standardized test. This prep work does almost nothing beneficial for the students and takes away from real learning activities. It is possible to prepare students to excel in a test, without teaching deeper and more important understandings on the subject.

Even if there were public grades for teachers, then what? Would there be a mad scramble to try and get your child into the classroom of the star teacher? If this was possible, there is another troubling issue that students that are lucky enough to have very concerned parents would be the students that get the better teacher. From this, it is reasonable to expect that students from lower income families will get the poorest teachers. As well, there will obviously always be a distribution of teachers from poor to good. What will happen to the teachers that score on the lower percentiles of grading? Do they get wage cuts? Or are they simply fired? If nothing, then what would the point be?

It’s amazing how some people want it all in a teacher: the best teacher, the highest moral and ethical standards coupled with stringent duty of care policies, the greatest amount of personal public accountability, and lower wages.