The SLO test in GA

Discussion in 'General Education' started by leeshis0019, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. leeshis0019

    leeshis0019 Companion

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    Apr 20, 2015

    Alright,

    So I'm in Georgia and I'm currently teaching Chemistry. I've done Physics and want to do even more, but that's beside the point. Being in the science dept. I obviously talk with the physics teachers at the school quite often. Physics is one of a few classes that were mandated to give out the SLO test to their students this year.

    The SLO test is a "Student Learning Objective" assessment. Essentially, the standards are boiled down into objectives and students are expected to meet these objectives. Teachers don't know the objectives they only know the standards.

    Students take a pre-test 2 weeks into school (sometimes 3 weeks in). This pre-test has everything and it's a little odd, but being able to show growth requires a pre-test. Teacher's don't know what's on it so you can't hearken back to it during class like "Hey, if you remember this topic on the pre-test we're covering it now..." so and so.

    Then, 6 weeks before the end of the class the students take a post-test. This is in a block-schedule school by the way. According to the physics folks they still have 4 units to cover at this point (which is about where I would be...either 4 more or 3 more units).

    The kicker? The student's growth will be used to evaluate the teachers. It doesn't really seem like THAT bad of an idea as long as they account for the fact they those 4 units that were not yet covered were on the assessment.

    The OTHER kicker? It's not a real grade to the students and the students know this. They technically weren't supposed to know, but who is going to lie to their students about this? What bothers me is that these students have taken how many of these state-mandated assessments that have seemingly little effect on their grades or progress over the years?

    They've already been telling me that they had many students that finished the test in 5 minutes. Very few students willingly completed the whole test and you can't actually prompt the students to genuinely complete it. Most of them haven't looked at their data yet, but I asked to look at some of it for one of my colleagues. She's considered one of the best physics teachers there and her student's didn't really show much growth.

    Now her evaluation will show that despite the fact she's phenomenal.


    I suppose I haven't been around long enough (1 and 1/2 years) so I'm sure many things will come to bother me over the years, but this is just idiotic.


    tl;dr: State-mandated assessments are silly.
     
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  3. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Apr 21, 2015

    We do SLOs but we design the pre and post tests. It's not a grade (though some teachers made it one????). However, I've found I've been lucky as over 90% of my students have taken it seriously. I really feel for the ones who don't :( I like being able to design my own tests, but it is hard.
     
  4. HeartDrama

    HeartDrama Connoisseur

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    Apr 21, 2015

    Who's to say you can't make it a grade? I give credit for all of our benchmarks and interim assessments, otherwise, the students will blow through it.
     
  5. Mrs. A

    Mrs. A New Member

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    Sep 23, 2015

    Yes the SLO in Georgia is different from what I've heard is done in other states where teachers decide on their own pre and post tests.

    I was on the committee that wrote the SLO in my county and I was not pleased with how it was done. As a teacher on the committee they showed us one test that had already been written and was being used in other counties. That test used 2 of the most general standards, Atomic Structure was one and I don't remember the other. In my county the STEM Director insisted we use two of the more difficult standards - Thermochemistry and Stoich I think. When the state rolled this out they told teachers that the SLO would be a way of comparing performance of students from one part of the state with those in another part of the state. Obviously not.

    We wrote the test to be administered on with paper and pencil but the pretest was administered by the county on computers so some students could not see the images and the reference materials were not readily available (they couldn't see a periodic table if they needed one). After this disaster our school administered the post test on paper. Teachers were told to grade their own student's tests and input the grades in the county system. After APS we were not too pleased with this added responsibility, especially on a test used to grade my performance as a teacher.

    I knew I was leaving the public school system so I did not make the SLO a grade for my students. If I had stayed I would make it a grade, not because it is such a stellar assessment, but because I would want students to take it seriously and not Christmas tree the scantron.

    As with all things in education, this too will pass. In my 4 years teaching in Georgia public schools there were 3 different evaluation tools used. TYKES will run it's course and be replaced with something else eventually.
     
  6. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

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    Sep 23, 2015

    I was livid last year when my own Senior daughter came home and told me she "Christmas Treed" a Language Arts SLO simply because she didn't like the teacher, was over all the testing, and it didn't count toward her grade anyway. I didn't even know what "Christmas Treed" meant. By the way, it's filling in the test bubbles so they look like a Christmas Tree. Oh my goodness! That poor teacher. Putting the fates of teachers jobs and salaries in the hands of a bunch of hormonal teenagers is idiotic. I almost cannot believe this is happening all over the country. So many things in the field of education just don't make any common sense. I can see why teachers are leaving the profession in droves.
     
  7. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Sep 23, 2015

    There is a whole lot of gnashing of teeth but I have to ask this question...does anyone ever really get fired over test scores? I am unaware of that happening but i have very limited experience (i.e. teaching in only one school district). I am extremely curious. I am unaware of any teacher who has lost his/her job due to test results.
     
  8. MrTempest

    MrTempest Companion

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    Sep 24, 2015

    To keep things simple the SLO should be the course final exam. Give it to the kids as soon as possible, but do not grade it because it is a pretest and then give it to them as a graded assessment at the end of the year.
     
  9. leeshis0019

    leeshis0019 Companion

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    Sep 25, 2015

    So an update. I forgot about this post (wow...).

    The test will be a grade for the students. It's 10% of their grade (which means more of their grade is made up of tests of course).

    They also chopped it up. The last few units are not on the test because we just don't get to them.

    They also screwed up. We can see the questions. I accidentally saw a few of them when I first pulled it up because I didn't realize it was the SLO test, but...yah. Also, when we have to go through 80 books to erase marks it's hard to not piece together words you are seeing over and over.

    Anyways--my concern now is that there is no universal manual for what the kids need to know beforehand. I don't mean the content, but for Chemistry (as an example) they are given a periodic table that does not have the names of the elements. So it'd be nice to know that we need to have them memorize the names (I suppose we know NOW). Little things like that. I mean a student can miss 30% of the questions because he wasn't told to memorize the names.

    Physics apparently had a similar problem with some of the formulas given.


    Anyways--that's the update. The students are held accountable, but I get the feeling that for the first couple of years it's still going to be "just another test to take" which is unfortunate.
     

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