Bringing Out the Me in Team

A great first person account of how high stakes test based evaluations destroys team work in schools

Test scores are the new epicenter for the war over education. On one side are politicians and reformers advocating test scores to evaluate teachers. On the other side are teachers and unions arguing for more comprehensive evaluations rather than relying on scores alone. In a society that values results, reformers are gaining the upper hand. In report after report, districts and states have adopted evaluations primarily based on student achievement on end of grade tests. The results, the reformers argue, will retain the best teachers while removing the bad ones. It is a system that has worked in the private sector and could revolutionize our schools.

Despite the mountain of evidence against using test scores in this way (a nice summary here), I have to admit, there seems to be a bit of logic to the argument. A talented teacher like my wife would be rewarded in a system like this, while lesser teachers would soon be removed. In theory, it seems reasonable. . . until I saw it in action.

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