Bill Gates wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal last week about how to solve all the world’s biggest problems.
The answer he said was: Measurement.
This writer, Cathy O’Neill, disagrees. It is not that measurement is unimportant but that measurement is not neutral.
What matters most is who decides what to measure.
Most researchers in education recognize that value-added measurement has serious flaws and unintended consequences.
The teachers whose students produce the highest gains may be teachers who spend every class period doing drills for the test.
The teachers whose students see the smallest gains may have students who don’t speak English or who are gifted and at the top.
If you understand the limitations of the measure–the standardized tests–then you will be reluctant to let them determine which children are considered smart, which teachers get a bonus, which teachers are fired, and which schools will close.