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The use of High Stakes Test to Evaluate Teachers - Research Paper Example

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In the paper “The Use of High Stakes Test to Evaluate Teachers” the author analyzes the use of high stakes testing, which has become a growing problem among teachers, students and parents while policy makers applaud the success of such tests in various school districts…
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The use of High Stakes Test to Evaluate Teachers
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The use of High Stakes Test to Evaluate Teachers

With the high level of stress teachers already endure day after day, adding the pressure of high stakes testing only increases the number of cons resulting from placing teacher's career in jeopardy if students are unable to pass high stakes tests. Therefore, the cons resulting from such high stakes tests must be seriously considered by policymakers. If these cons are ignored, the results could be devastating to the American education system. Thousands of potentially good classroom teachers  could lose their jobs and many prospective teachers would mostly likely refuse to enter into the profession.One of the cons of the using high stakes testing to evaluate teachers is that policymakers discard the valuable intangibles that makes up  a teacher’s  character. The worth of a teacher is much more than the results of high stakes testing. Such intangibles as caring teacher/student relationships, active teacher/parent connection, extra-curriculum activities-participation, attendance, role modeling for students can not measured by high stakes testing. Many teachers go far and beyond the call of duty when it comes to preparing their students for the challenges of society and work. The are kind, helpful, caring and compassionate(Suttle). Their students respect them. Releasing such dedicated teachers due to negative high stakes test results is a mistake. In stead of  keeping good teachers who are sensitive to their ideas and thoughts, students most likely will receive teacher who are too test. oriented and insensitive to the student's feelings. Another con of high stakes testing is that the tests do not necessarily reflect the competency of the teacher. Many teachers simply don't know how to prepare their classroom for scoring successfully on high stakes tests. According to Richard F. Elmore, a professor of Harvard School of Education, many teachers are unsure of how to integrate state standards for high stakes testing, so they engage the process blindly. This sense of blindness forces many teachers to focus on teaching test material the entire school year. Other significant aspects of the curriculum such as social studies and science are usually neglected. Such focus on teaching test material is called “teach to the test” (Walker pg 9). Critical information regarding society, people and the environment are neglected when non-tested subjects such as science and psychology are minimized during the course of a school year. No matter how competent a teacher may be, she can not make students learn if the students are not motivated, perhaps due to some external circumstances beyond school. This is another con of high stakes testing. Many minority populations, including Latinos and African Americans come from impoverished backgrounds or underprivileged schools which might limit their ability to obtain high test scores. For example, studies show that “significant gaps exist between rich and poor districts and among ethnic and ... Read More
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