President Obama’s State of the Union speech spent a large chunk of time on education. As well it should have. Long story short, the overarching theme of the entire speech was that education is the key to our country’s success. It all starts with education.
That got me thinking. It also got me talking with some of @Edudemic’s Twitter followers (you all rock!). We tried to figure out a way to measure the performance of a teacher without saddling them with the responsibility of ‘teaching to the test.’ Thanks to the power of social media, we were able to crowdsource a potential answer.
NOTE: You may not agree or think that the idea has potential. I’m no expert but wanted to get the conversation started. I want you to let me (and everyone else) know how the idea should be amended by tweeting and / or leaving a comment. I’ll be reading through all of these correspondences and editing the post as needed. Think of this post as a living document. Now, onto the idea:
President Obama explicitly mentioned how teachers should be ‘teaching to the test.’ It stifles innovation and creative thinking in students while forcing teachers into a rigid curriculum that is closely watched. That’s no good.
So let’s ditch standardized testing to measure the performance of teachers. Instead, let’s do a mandatory biannual evaluation of teachers by both students and their peers. The evaluation could be as exhaustive as is necessary and would still hold the teachers accountable. It would free up a wild amount of resources (paperwork, staffing, other bureaucratic redundancies) while letting teachers have the latitude to experiment and develop the best teaching tools and methodology they can.
I’m not saying let’s ditch ALL standardized testing in a massive #OccupyTests movement. I still think there is some value in tests like the SAT / ACT. Those have issues as well but that’s not what this post is about.
While this post is simply the result of a late night Twitter conversation, it should be a larger discussion. One that all education admins should see. So add your comments, share the post, and get others talking. It’s time to stop teaching to the test.