Let me give some background...
I am taking classes to be an administrator.
This week during one of my classes the discussion centered around accountability, mainly should test scores be used in evaluating teachers. Timely, considering the #edchat topic this week.
In North Carolina, teachers here get a report that tells them how effective they are as a teacher, based solely on test scores. This system looks at previous standardized tests that the student has taken and then attempts to predict how that student will do. In some cases it is pretty accurate. But often, it is not.
What teachers get at the beginning of the year is an effectiveness rating that looks at how their kids did last year compared to where the program thought they should be. Teachers can be in green which means they are highly effective, yellow which means they are neither effective or ineffective or red which is ineffective.
Now that NC has opted to play the money game with Washington and is applying to Race To The Top they have agreed that in the future these effectiveness ratings will be used as part of a teacher evaluation. There is even talk that the state is considering a pay structure that would include these scores. (Mind you that is just "water cooler" talk and nothing formal has been announced.)
Arming you with that...here is what happened today.
We were discussing the use of this system in the schools. I personally believe it is flawed and if anyone spends much time examining or investigating these numbers they are really wasting their time...but I digress...
We started talking about the way the system predicts how a student is going to do on the end-of-year standardized test. I used to get these numbers as a classroom teacher so I have a little background. These numbers far from predict how students will do. It may get it right some of the time but more often than not it is way, way off.
There was a teacher in my class, an experienced teacher, 17 years in, who said that those predictors where what she felt were the best way to know who to tutor in her class. Those predictors were the best thing she had to decide who to give extra attention to.
I just about fell out into the floor. I could not decide whether to laugh because I thought she was being serious or to cry because I felt so bad for her students.
You have got to be kidding me!
What happened to actually getting to know our students. Understanding them. Learning about their background. We have to see what is going on with them.
Are we really going to let a some scores dictate to us who needs help and who does not? Seriously!!! What happened to formative assessment? What happened to ongoing assessments. Nope, this teacher is going to get her little paper and let that decide, right or wrong, who gets extra help and who does not.
Am I wrong to just dismiss this system, which you can read more about here if you want. (My personal favorite line in the text on that page is; "EVAAS tools provide a precise measurement of student progress over time and a reliable diagnosis of opportunities for growth that help to identify which students are at risk for under-achievement.") Should tools like EVAAS be used to, maybe not be the sole source of information but used to aid in decision-making?
Maybe I am wrong...
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