N.J. reconsiders using standardized test scores as part of teacher evaluation

The PARCC test now counts for 30 percent of the overall evaluation for about 15 percent of New Jersey educators.(Lisafz/Bigstock)

The PARCC test now counts for 30 percent of the overall evaluation for about 15 percent of New Jersey educators.(Lisafz/Bigstock)

A New Jersey Assembly committee has backed a bill to eliminate the use of students’ performance on standardized tests to evaluate teacher effectiveness.

The PARCC test now counts for 30 percent of the overall evaluation for about 15 percent of New Jersey educators.

Test results aren’t a reliable indicator of the job teachers do, said Assembly Education Committee chairwoman Marlene Caride.

“I was never a good test taker, and there are many students that freeze and don’t take well their tests. We’re talking about livelihoods,” said Caride, D-Bergen. “We’re talking about careers.”

New Jersey Education Association vice president Marie Blistan said the tests are not a reliable way to gauge teachers.

“Any teacher, any educator, will tell you that the use of test scores will never be able to account for the realities of life in any given day and the factors that influence student learning outside of the classroom,” she said.

Assemblyman Robert Auth said he opposes eliminating what he considers a motivating factor for teachers.

“This bill is a wholesale sellout of students and parents in districts with un-performing schools,” said Auth, R-Bergen.

Jonathan Pushman with the New Jersey School Boards Association urged lawmakers to retain all options for evaluating educators.

“I encourage this body to consider the long-term efficacy and ramifications of rolling back one of the central aspects of a relatively new method for assessing the effectiveness of our teachers,” he said.

The bill’s supporters said using test scores pressures teachers to prepare students for the test instead of educating them.

They say teachers should be held accountable through a vigorous evaluation system that’s not linked to standardized tests.

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