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Your Views: Job performance motivated some to cheat on tests

POSTED: April 24, 2013 1:00 a.m.

The viewpoint of Professor Lynn Stout of Cornell Law School in Sunday’s Times is that the cheating scandal of the Atlanta Public Schools reveals “the dark side of offering incentives.” She is really saying that test scores should not be used to measure a teacher’s performance.

Teachers have used test scores for ages to evaluate students’ performance. Why, all of a sudden, is this not a good way to measure a teacher’s performance?

She fails to point out the real flaw in the Atlanta system is that the teachers whose performance was to be evaluated by test results were allowed to administer the tests themselves. These same teachers and their administrators were allowed to handle the tests before they were scored and summarized. Whoever allowed this situation where “the fox was guarding the hen house” is just as responsible for the cheating as the weak ones who cheated because they could.

I hope that this fiasco does not sour the public on testing students to see what progress they are making. Testing for measurement of progress can be a very good thing if it is done correctly.

Jim Waldrep


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