Updated: Jul 22
At a time when almost every education expert in the state of Texas outside of TEA is shouting from the rooftops, "This is not a time for standardized testing!" Dallas ISD has paid Northwest Evaluation Association $1.1 million to ensure the district will have high-stakes testing for 2020-21.
Because TEI relies on standardized test scores to evaluate teachers and because the state did not conduct the STAAR standardized test in the 2019-20 school year, DISD cannot carry out TEI as usual.
Now the district plans to replace STAAR with the MAP test this school year in order to continue evaluating teachers with student's test scores. MAP utilizes the same flawed design model as STAAR, known as Item Response Theory or IRT. IRT has an unintentional consequence of ordering students by factors other than instruction.
During this unprecedented pandemic, it is important that students and teachers not be subjected to the pressures of high-stakes testing. Two University of Texas College of Education researchers and former school administrators recently stated in the Austin American Statesman, "Every educational dollar needs to be used as efficiently as possible to ensure students thrive academically and socially, and testing is not part of that equation."
Evaluating teachers based on test scores is not required for state or federal funding nor for accountability measures.
While well designed tests can be used to support and inform instruction, that is not what happens in TEI with STAAR or MAP.
STAAR and MAP are IRT based and tell us about "test-taking ability more than content mastery." Plus when tests are used for high-stakes the curriculum gets narrowed, in that what gets tested gets taught. And finally DISD teachers do not get their TEI/STAAR results until the school year is over, having no chance whatsoever to inform instruction.
Please let the Dallas ISD administration and Board of Trustees know that what we need right now is a time-out on high-stakes standardized testing, namely TEI.
email@example.com (President of the Board of Trustees)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Superintendent of Dallas ISD)
email@example.com (Chief of Human Capital Management or HCM)