This year, West students in all grades have become part of New York State’s new teacher evaluation system. Most subject teachers, including gym and art, will mainly be evaluated based on their students’ performance on two tests: one pretest at the beginning of the year that will not be counted toward their grades and a final at the end of the year that does count. The purpose of taking these tests is to allow the state to see if students have improved throughout the year.
The people who created this system must have forgotten what it’s like to be a student. Of course teens are going to try harder on a test that counts, as opposed to a test that does not. An anonymous student has admitted that he and other students “bubbled in random answers just to get the test over with.” Others, like freshman Trevor Anton, were confused as to why they were taking the tests. Anton originally was not in favor of the evaluations, calling them “pointless” but when they were better explained to him, he decided to change his position. “I think they do serve a purpose, but I think most students don’t take them seriously,” commented Anton. This is another reason for most students’ lack of effort on the tests: they don’t even know the reason why they have to take them.
The unfortunate fact is that sometimes students’ poor performances are not the fault of the teacher, but the students themselves. A teacher can explain the material, offer extra help, and give homework, but if the students don’t take the initiative to learn and better themselves academically, they have no one but themselves to blame. How then, can this new system differentiate between students who don’t care to learn and teachers whose teaching methods could be improved? New York State should be given credit for creating this program in hopes of providing a better education for its children, but if it truly wishes to achieve that goal, it must change the way it evaluates its educators.
More information on New York’s teacher evaluation system can be found at: http://www.freeownersmanualpdf.net/ebook/new-york-state-teacher-and-principal-evaluation-2012-13-and.pdf