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Evidence-based programs, not teachers, should be held accountable
for test scores
In a recent blog post, Robert Slavin, director of Johns Hopkins University's Center for Research and Reform in Education, discusses test-based accountability and how standardized test scores, which are useful to identify students' academic strengths and weaknesses, are sometimes misused as justification for firing principals and teachers. No Child Left Behind requires that schools meet certain scores on standardized tests or face a penalty, and test scores are now used as part of teacher evaluations. Yet a 2011 study by the National Research Council found no evidence of benefits from high-stakes test accountability. Dr. Slavin states that a shift is needed to provide schools with better access to programs with evidence to support their effectiveness, and that these programs should be held accountable for students' academic weaknesses. If principals and teachers were confident that a program had been tested and found to be effective when properly implemented and supported, then the onus for student success would be on the program and not the teachers.