Legislatures in New York, California and some other states have enacted laws that limit, to one degree or another, the use of student achievement data in teacher performance evaluations . Last year New York’s Legislature prohibited the use of student test scores in teacher tenure decisions. In a speech last month to Department of Education researchers, Education Secretary Arne Duncan singled out data laws in some states.

“Believe it or not,” Mr. Duncan said, “several states, including New York, Wisconsin and California, have laws that create a firewall between students and teacher data. I think that’s simply ridiculous. We need to know what is and is not working and why.”

Should test data be used to evaluate teachers? If not, then what measures should be used? And how should test data be used with our students? Shouldn’t the data be used to inform how we should be teaching? As a former teacher and the husband of an excellent teacher, I feel we need to have some kind of teacher accountability for the benefit of the students as well as the integrity of the teaching profession. There must be something measureable, such as student improvement and growth, that can be tied to a teacher’s evaluation. But there must also be other components, such as a teacher’s ability to inspire, motivate, and nurture, to enter into the evaluation.

And the debate continues.

Are the assessment tools in your programs used to help teachers successfully teach students? PSG can help you create effective assessments that measure success and inform how teachers can be more effective with their instruction. Give us a call.