Hey, parents, get ready for your kids to cram: Due to Federal Race to the Top funding rules, the Department of Education is currently working on an additional series of tests for its students which, while giving scores to kids, will actually be testing teachers. Details are still being hammered out but the new system could mean up to 16 new additional tests, possibly administered in two parts, for students between 3rd and 12th grades.

With $700 million in NY state Race to the Funds money at stake, the city is racing to start the exams during the next school year. The law requires teachers to be evaluated on a scale from “ineffective” to “highly effective,” with teachers facing the chopping block if they are "ineffective" for two years in a row. Further, under the law, 40 percent of a teacher's grade will be based on standardized tests or other “rigorous, comparable” measures of student performance (half would be based on state-wide tests while the other half would be based on local district-based criteria). Therefore, the city schools system is aiming to use up to a quarter of its $256 million of the grant money on the new tests, which would be administered twice during the year.

One principal at a school with federal assistance that has used a prototype test seemed pleased with the results, telling the Times that “it’s about the kid being brave enough to tackle something when they don’t know where they are going to end up.” But anti-testing parents are already worried, with one saying, “We are not focusing on teaching and learning anymore; we are focusing on collecting data.”

If the UFT approves the tests, they could be rolled out in nearly all the city's schools by the 2013-2014 school year. Not that teachers are looking forward to it. One teacher, in spite of all of his students passing the Algebra I test, was last year ranked in the fourth percentile for the system, complained to the Post, "All of my students were talented students, so if you're going to base their progress on a test that has a ceiling, you're going to have a tough time seeing improvement." Why was he ranked so low? According to the DOE, his students' scores should have averaged 711 (out of 800), but instead they only averaged 697.