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Jerry Cornfield | jcornfield@heraldnet.com
Published: Monday, February 27, 2012, 11:12 a.m.

Data on teacher evaluations in New York stirs heated debate

The experience in New York City may provide insight on what might happen if Washington begins evaluating teachers and ties their pay to the academic achievements of their students.

There's been a dump of data on 18,000 teachers in the city. You can look at it here courtesy of the Wall Street Journal. With this searchable database, you can find a rating for every teacher and pie charts on the performance of their students.

As noted in The Atlantic and The New York Times it's caused quite a controversy.

The margin of error can be wide with the final scores off on average of as much as 35 or 53 percentage points for English and math exams, respectively, the NYT found.

From The Atlantic:

“Additionally, some teachers' evaluations reflect test data collected for as few as 10 students. "The purpose of these reports is not to look at any individual score in isolation ever," the city's Education Department's Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky told the New York Times. "No principal would ever make a decision on this score alone and we would never invite anyone, parents, reporters, principals, teachers, to draw a conclusion based on this score alone."

Given one of the issues in Washington is whether the data on teachers will become public, lawmakers are certain to keep an eye on the fallout in New York City.

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