Letter: Forcing educators to teach to test undermines complete education

Forcing educators to teach to test undermines complete education

The state now requires stu- dent performance data to count for 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. Merit-based pay assessment for teachers prohibits them from fully educating students and therefore the full effectiveness of teachers cannot be identified.

Ohio places more significance on student data in a teacher’s evaluation than any other state, according to a recent news article. This hinders teachers from fully educating their students. Teachers now have to teach only to the standardized test because half of their assessment is going to be based on how well their students perform on those tests.

Preparation for the tests eliminates at least a month and a half of classroom time. If a teacher had a great project that would help students prepare for their future — but could take a few extra days to teach — they now have to eliminate it because they have to get through all of the data on the test before the test dates.

If you asked a student at the end of each school year to name one lesson that really stuck out to them, the majority is not going to say a lesson strictly based on the textbook and geared toward the standardized test. But since teachers’ evaluations are now so heavily weighted on the student’s performance on the test, that is what teachers now have to put 100 percent focus on.

What’s not accounted for when a student takes these tests are the outside uncontrollable factors, including quality of parenting, economic status, social behaviors and just having a bad day.

Some students may go home to a household where parents encourage their children to be well educated. Other students may enter an empty home and be en-gulfed in video games the entire night.

What if the day of the test a fight breaks out in the cafeteria, or a student is caught smoking in the bathroom, or the star quarterback breaks up with the captain of the cheerleading squad? Now a teacher who has worked all year raising the level of a student’s education is going to have half of his or her evaluation based on whether or not the students are going to be focused on the test or focused on how exciting that cafeteria fight was.

A teacher’s hard work year round should not be based on one week of testing. A school may have the greatest teacher in the United States, but with the restraints placed on educators with these type of evaluations, you may never know it.

Ryan Snyder, Lisbon

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