End-of-course exams = better teacher evaluations?
Lots of people think replacing high school FCATs with end-of-course exams will be good for students. Some think it'll be better for rating teachers, too.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush brought up that angle on the issue Monday, on the national radio show of former U.S. Secretary of Education Bill Bennett. (You can hear the interview here.)
A retired high school administrator from Missouri called to say he wasn't necessarily opposed to using student test scores to track teacher quality, but said most of his teachers weren't teaching subjects that were tested on that state's comprehensive exams. Similar arguments have surfaced in Florida.
"I think we need end-of-course exams," Bush replied. That "would be the best way to include all teachers and have a significant percentage of your evaluation of teachers based on what students learn."
Hmm. It remains to be seen how end-of-course exams will fit into Florida's accountability system, or into the more reality-based teacher evaluation systems the state seems to be headed toward. But at least with the FCAT, you can measure student gains from year to year. Is there a way to do that with end-of-course exams? Anybody want to hazard a guess about how that'll work out?