About six in 10 Californians believe test scores should account for at least one-third of a teacher’s evaluation, a recent poll found.
These findings come at a time when the Los Angeles Unified School District and its teachers are in a heated battle over the implementation of a program that would link teacher evaluations and student test scores.
The survey of about 1,500 voters was conducted on behalf of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.
The United Teachers of Los Angeles have taken an ardent stance against evaluations that heavily rely on student testing as an indicator of success.
The union says the pilot evaluation model created by LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy is similar to the value-added model – which includes student test scores in evaluation – slowly being adopted throughout the states.
“It is important to remember that your or my individual ‘[Value Added Measurement] number’ is about as reliable an indicator of teaching quality as your or my driver’s license number,” said UTLA President Warren Fletcher, in a recent statement to union members.
Fletcher backed up his claim, citing a study by the U.S. Department of Education that found a more than 25 percent error rate in value-added evaluation measures.
Value-added analysis first gained media attention and received backlash from teachers in 2010 when the Los Angeles Times published teacher ratings from 470 elementary schools.
The USC/Times poll also found that 58 percent of Californians believe education in public schools would benefit from teachers’ evaluations being public, another position the teachers union has shown disfavor with.
The Academic Growth Over Time evaluation system created by Deasy does not include public teacher reviews, which the superintendent has opposed.
Most voters said the California education system would be improved through a mixture of measures, including parental involvement and reduction of class sizes – both overwhelmingly favored by those polled.