Lawmakers in New Jersey would like to prevent PARCC scores from being used for teacher evaluations, and the New Jersey Assembly Education Committee voted to that end 11 to 1.
The Christie administration originally intended for student test scores – specifically year-to-year improvements, not the scores themselves – to account for 30 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. The state lowered that to 10 percent when the new PARCC exams proved controversial but says the kinks have now been ironed out sufficiently to return to the original 30 percent.
Assemblywoman Marlene Caride, D-Bergen, who sponsors the bill eliminating the use of test scores in assessing teachers, disagrees.
“I have my issues with the PARCC test. It’s only three years old. There hasn’t been a year where there has not been a problem with it,” Caride said. She also opposes the use of the tests on principle: “I can’t find anything that convinces me that these standardized tests really test an ability of a child.”
Among the 11 members of the Assembly Education Committee to vote on the bill Monday, only one voted against it: Assemblyman Robert Auth, R-Bergen, who portrayed it as a choice between supporting the NJEA and parents. He said the percentage should be set at 10 percent.
“This bill is a wholesale sellout of students and parents in districts with underperforming schools,” Auth said.
“To say because we had an extreme of 30 percent, that justifies now going to the extreme of absolutely no evaluation by testing, that doesn’t justify that,” he said.
This was part of tenure reform that occurred in New Jersey…. which could be a whole different article altogether – the idea of tenure offends me because it offers protections that you find in no other occupation.
That said using PARCC scores for teacher evaluations is concerning because of the temptation to continually teach to the test at the expense of other activities and priorities.
I would hope that lawmakers would be just as concerned about PARCC being used as a requirement for graduation.