As Norm Scott reports in the current issue of The Indypendent:
On Jan. 10, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Cynthia Kern ruled that the New York City Department of Education (DOE) was obliged to release the names of individual teachers with “value-added” test score results that purport to measure teacher effectiveness. Judge Kern brushed aside arguments by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) that the release of unreliable data would unjustly harm teachers’ reputations writing “there is no requirement that data be reliable for it to be disclosed.”
According to the ruling, media outlets and the general public have the right to the names of more than 12,000 teachers, and the standardized test score based performance data of their students.
A recent study by NYU professor Sean Corcoran of New York University demonstrated that the NYC teacher data reports have an average margin of error of 34 to 61 percentage points out of 100. This means a teacher who shows up in the 58th percentile might actually be in the 85th percentile. Corcoran also noted that most low performers in English in 2007 did not remain low performers the next year.
The DOE claims that despite the flaws, the data is, “the best available quantitative measure of teacher performance, particularly for teachers who rank consistently high or low.”
UFT says it plans to appeal the ruling. Until the outcome of the appeal is known, the city says it will continue to keep the data reports confidential.
To find out more about the impact of Teacher Data Reports, Community News Production Institute reporter Herm Jerome interviewed several public school teachers. Jerome is an educator in the Bronx and a member of Teachers Unite. Click below to listen: