Do test scores tell us how good a teacher is?

When the House Education Committee meets Wednesday at 3 p.m., the question will be: What is the best way to tell if Georgia teachers are doing a good job?

Under current law, the state relies on student test scores to prove teacher effectiveness. Half of a teacher’s evaluation depends on student scores; 70 percent of a principal’s evaluation hinges on student scores.

The state Senate has already passed a bill dialing back those percentages. On Wednesday, the House will hear from the public on what it thinks about test-driven education evaluations.

If you want to learn more about this, you can go to the AJC Get Schooled blog on for both sides of the argument.

In one piece, an education advocate argues test scores provide reliable insights into how well a teacher performs. She says, ”Researchers have never claimed that student growth measured by statistical tools like a student growth percentile model (used in Georgia) or value-added models (VAM) are perfect. But the information that these models add to a multiple measure system has the ability to strengthen the feedback teacher evaluations can provide.”

But several of the state’s leading education groups argue against relying so heavily on test scores. They contend, “Basing 70 percent and 50 percent of administrator and teacher evaluations on test scores narrows the focus of evaluations and fails to account for many other factors that lead to successful classrooms and school buildings.”

You can read the piece in favor of continuing to use test scores to rate teachers here.

And you can read the piece calling for less emphasis on test scores by going here.