Release of teachers’ scores enhances student success


Though evaluating teachers’ performance based on test scores is often considered an incomplete assessment of their abilities, the benefit of this information —though simply a measurable piece of data — is valuable for parents and students.

The Florida Department of Education recently released partial teacher scores, which reveal students’ standardized test results in comparison to their expected results. The scores are considered the value-added model (VAM) because it determines the additional value provided by a
teacher’s guidance.

Along with test scores, the VAM score calculates attendance, class size and the previous success of a student.

Though the Florida Department of Education wished to withhold the information, it was made public record for the first time after a court ruled against the state and the Florida Education Association teacher’s union, which considers the scores “flawed.”

However, with the VAM’s data used to show the “value added” by a teacher’s performance, the public should have access to this information to allow parents to make a knowledgeable decision on the best school to send their children.

In Hillsborough County, the combination of these VAM scores and other districts tests make up 40 percent of a teacher’s grade with the rest determined by the principal and a peer evaluator.

Hillsborough County School District Spokesman Stephen Hegarty said to the Tampa Tribune he believes sole
consideration of the scores is unjust when other factors contribute
to evaluations.

Though the released scores may cast doubt on schools that are doing poorly in some subjects, they also bring attention to schools that are exceeding.

In a competitive world, education is absolutely necessary
to succeed.

If the VAM scores show Plant High has the highest scores in reading and Robinson Elementary has the highest scores in math, as they currently report, then parents should have the right to know.

In the best interest of their children, parents can use this data to send their children to schools that will best fulfill their educational needs, especially at an early age.

Primary education is just as crucial — if not more so — than secondary education because it lays the foundation for a
student’s knowledge.

Colleges want students with outstanding academic records. Shopping for colleges is an important step for every student seeking higher education, but the pressure caused by these expectations is amplified when students have trouble with specific subjects.

If a child is struggling in a subject, parents need to know where their student has the best chance to improve before they have to sit down for Advance Placement tests and the SAT.

Withholding this information robs students of an
opportunity to receive the best
education possible.

Keeping the scores confidential could trample on a student’s ability to succeed or improve and impede parents’ ability to make a fully informed decision for the
betterment of their children’s future.


Eric Heubusch is a
freshman majoring in mass