|GRADING THE GRADERS
Is teacher testing the best way to improve academic achievement?
October 1, 1998
in this forum:
Questions asked in this forum: What is the best way to assess teachers' abilities? What is the best allocation of education funds? Who creates the tests, and are they fair? Additional Comments.
September 15, 1998
Massachussets institutes a controversial teacher testing plan.
September 17, 1997
Online NewsHour Forum:two Senators debate national education standards.
September 8, 1997:
Are standardized tests the best route to better grades?
Browse the NewsHour's coverage of Education.
The Department of Education
A question from Brad Davidorf of Atlanta, GA:
Would it be possible to post a sample teacher test that was given in Massachusetts? Perhaps this test should be made public so that parents and politicians can take it and get their score before they decide if a young person who fails the test is fit to teach.
Dr. John Silber, the chancellor of Boston University and chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education, answers:
In my opinion any parent or politician who wants to take the test should be able, at his or her own expense, to do so. But it is unreasonable to expect the actual test to be released to the public. The preparation of these tests is expensive and an entirely new test cannot be written each time. Consequently, testing companies and their clients insist on maintaining proprietary rights to the specific examinations.
Extensive information about the Massachusetts Teacher Tests and sample test questions and responses are available at: http://www.doe.mass.edu/teachertest/info_booklet/TSTINFO_cov.html.
In addition, National Evaluation Systems is preparing a guide to the tests that will give more details and additional examples of what to expect on the tests. However, these tests are, with few exceptions, of such a general nature that I fail to understand why a guide is necessary. Literacy in the English language is essential for any teacher. Teachers who lack sound knowledge of the English language, including grammar, syntax and spelling, are not capable of teaching English to their students, nor are they capable of serving as adequate role models in their use of the language. Moreover, they are incapable of correcting the work of their students.
If teachers seek certification in mathematics then they must be able to score at a high level on basic tests in algebra, calculus, trigonometry and geometry. All teachers should certainly know basic mathematical functions, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc.