New York City test for teachers lacks validity

When white test takers passed at significantly higher rates than Black and Hispanic test takers on the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test, the test was found to be  culturally biased (“Black, Latino Teachers Collecting $835 Million in Discrimination Lawsuit,” The Wall Street Journal, Jul. 14).  I maintain that it is impossible to design any assessment instrument that is totally devoid of such bias when it is taken by a diverse group.

Instead, I submit that the test does not permit valid inferences to be drawn about effectiveness in the classroom. That’s because so much depends on the students that any teacher happens to be given.  If a teacher is handed a group of Talmudic scholars, for example, he or she will shine in spite of their qualifications.  The only way to know beforehand if a teacher will likely be effective is to use performance assessment. 

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