Explain to me like I'm a 5-year old (testing)

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by redtop, Apr 18, 2013.

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  1. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

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    Apr 24, 2013

    I didn't say to blame the parents either. As a parent of an underachieving teen, I really don't blame myself or the teachers. My child is just unmotivated, doesn't like to do homework, is disorganized, and doesn't see the importance of handwork. Do I try everything I possibly can to increase her motivation, oh yeah! I hold my teen responsible for her lack of motivation. She still scores very well on all the state testing (and has always). I am just happy that she has passed all her classes and scores high on the testing. I think she has some pretty great teachers and would be upset if my child's lack of motivation caused one of her teachers to be demoted, not get a raise, or even be let-go. Everybody is just different. Some kids have incredible motivation, while others don't. You can't put everybody into the same box!

    I believe in personal responsibility and if we all work together to promote this concept, the face of education could change.
     
  2. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Apr 24, 2013

    In this situation, with an older child who has parents trying their best, you certainly don't blame the parents.

    I do have a problem with parents of younger children (elementary) who send their children to school for the first time without ever having been exposed to books, to conversation, to healthy eating habits, to social situations with other children...

    ...and the cycle begins...
     
  3. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Apr 24, 2013

    YES!! You hit the nail on the head! :thumb:
     
  4. queenie

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    Apr 24, 2013

    :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:
     
  5. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

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    Yes! I do agree. Birth through age 5 is so important for educational development. So many parents just send their children to preschool/daycare and think their child is getting all the development they need. If parents would just read a couple of short books to their toddlers everyday, converse with them, teach them the basics like writing names, ect... It would make a world of difference in education. I remember countless times drawing with my kids, playing count the number of cars (stairs, stores, pushes on the swings, ect..), and lots of play. When I taught pre-K (hired half way through the year), I couldn't believe the all the students that couldn't write their names, or count, or know letters & numbers. It is so easy for parents to teach these things at home and not rely on preschool which is almost all play based. The preschool I worked at wouldn't let me use many of the tools that I used with my own kids to teach them the basics.

    I strongly believe we all need to stop playing the blame game and start working together. Teachers don't need more evaluations, we just need a society that sees value in education, value in teachers, and value in our children.
     
  6. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Apr 24, 2013

    .
     
  7. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Apr 24, 2013

    :thumb:
     
  8. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Apr 24, 2013

    :thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb:
     
  9. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Apr 24, 2013

    I think teachers contributed to the current trend for evaluation NOT because they didn't come up with an alternative evaluation system, but because there were problems in the profession that weren't being addressed. That certainly didn't beg the responses that were given by politicians and others (e.g., accountability via state test), but the initial reason why accountability was even considered was because kids weren't doing well in school, which was at least in part due to teacher performance (though not, by any means, exclusively because of it either).

    I don't think our two statements are all that different. If what you are saying is true - that politicians are concerned that schools are producing kids/adults that perform well on standardized tests, then you're saying that politicians have a problem with educational outcomes, so moved toward accountability. This is what I'm saying as well. It seems that your main disagreement really is that standardized tests are being used to measure outcomes. I agree that too much emphasis is placed on these tests, and definitely support your statements of using a variety of measures administered more frequently, such as DIBELS. However, I don't see state tests as inherently invalid and unreliable. My main objection to state tests is using them to evaluate teachers. However, as a measure of educational outcomes, I could see them as valuable. Not saying I wouldn't reform how they're done, but they aren't inherently bad. No, they don't measure all of education, but they could be a helpful part.

    So, I think we agree and disagree here. I think we agree that politicians weren't satisfied with educational results, and that they shouldn't have focused solely on teacher quality. It seems that we disagree that state tests could be a part of the overall evaluation of educational achievement.

    I'm with you here :). Countries are just way too different to use annual tests to measure school performance. There are just too many variables, so it really just isn't too helpful to compare ourselves with Finland in terms of annual tests.

    Performance deficits. I've experienced it across multiple schools in multiple districts in multiple states. I've experienced it when teaching teacher ed majors, and working with them at the school level. I've worked with a lot of exceptionally great teachers, and some pretty lackluster ones as well.

    The roots of this are far and wide - low salary attracts lesser qualified candidates, (previous) demand created a situation where teacher ed programs weren't very select and needed to churn out teachers at high rates, there aren't great procedures in many districts for really training administrators as educational leaders (but, rather, accountability pushers, strict disciplinarians, or district favorites with seniority), etc. Another example - as RtI has really taken hold in a lot of places, many teachers simply don't have the training to keep up - not only with RtI procedures, but with assessment, data collection & analysis, intervention, etc. This is definitely NOT the fault of the teachers themselves, but of universities and districts who thrust RtI upon teachers with no preparation or training. BUT, still, this has led to a gap between expected/need performance and actual performance. This is why I don't think accountability makes sense as the primary agent of change - it's not that most of the poorly performing teachers are choosing to not do things the right way - they've just never been taught, with districts rolling out new expectations and reform packages with little preparation.

    So, I don't think teachers caused the push toward accountability, but they were part of a system that wasn't working as well as we wanted it to. They weren't the only problem, but (some of them) were at least part of it. And, even those issues with teacher performance at times aren't even the fault of the teachers!

    Yes, I suppose you can indeed make that claim, considering you just have :).

    Exactly. More common ground :).
     
  10. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Apr 25, 2013

    .
     
  11. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Apr 25, 2013

    So now we all agree. Instead of pointing fingers of blame we need to say "What can we do to make this better?" And instead of a new round of politicians coming in every 4-6 years with all the solutions and passing laws we need parents/teachers and govt. officials sitting down together and hashing out smart reforms not just knee jerk reaction and new hoops for teachers to hop through.
     
  12. EdEd

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    Apr 25, 2013

    Are you saying that there is 0 correlation between the two? I'm not saying they're perfect, but are you saying that standardized tests are in no way a reflection of academic achievement?

    I agree.

    I think I undertand what you are saying now. You don't have a problem with standardized tests as a concept, but how they were specifically created, at least from your perspective. My response would be that I'm not necessarily familiar with the tests used where you are, so I can't speak to that. From my experiences, there does seem to be a correlation between performance on standardized tests and other measures of performance, from grades to MAP, DIBELS, etc. None of those measures are perfect, rarely will I see a kid who scores very highly on MAP, DIBELS, unit tests, etc., then bombs the state test, or vice versa. Still, maybe your experiences are different? I guess my question here is related to my original question at the top of this post - do you really see no correlation between state tests and other measures of achievement?

    I definitely apologize if I've misread your comments. It sounds like you are saying that you don't have a problem with state tests theoretically, but as applied, which I responded to in my above comments.

    Observations in classrooms and discussions with teachers, leading to knowledge of which strategies those teachers are implementing. This is, of course, just my personal experience, but it is across multiple schools, districts, in states. Certainly not an official study, though.

    Alas, more common ground :).
     
  13. EdEd

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    Apr 25, 2013

    I'm in agreement, but I'd have to say that I'd really prefer to see reform driven by a team of educators (broadly defined) - teachers, administrators, district officials, university folks, state DOE folks, etc. I definitely see parents, government officials, politicians, etc. as being important because they are stakeholders, but I'd like to see them take the perspective that education is a technical profession, like medicine and law, and that they can't simply interject their thoughts with no experience in the area.
     
  14. queenie

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    No!! I'm saying that in my experience, kids who have mastered a concept can potentially receive low scores in that area simply because they misunderstood the question, because they got tired of sitting at a computer or filling in bubbles, or because they have no desire to read each. and. every. time consuming question.

    I do believe that most of the time the kids who score the highest on other measures (like DIBELS, etc.) also score the highest on standardized tests, and those who score low on other measures typically score lowest in the school on state tests, too. A kid who can read and comprehend well and is a good test taker can generally reach mastery or above on a standardized test. Is that what you are asking?

    Basically, here are the problems I have with our state testing right now:

    If I am going to help my students be successful on a test, I should know what is going to be expected, specifically, of the children taking the test. Right now it's like I have a million standards to teach and only a few of them will ever be assessed. I have no way of knowing which concepts are deemed the most important.

    The test uses strangely-worded questions that were seemingly constructed in an effort to trick students. Just get to the point and ask the question! Why say "After reading the informational text below, construct a well written paragraph that summarizes the main topic...." when you can say, "Read the paragraph below and then write in your own words what it's about." I mean let's assess vocabulary as a separate section- that's great!- but come on! Are we really assessing what the question is asking for or if they can read and comprehend the question?

    Furthermore, if a child answers the only question on the test that assesses her knowledge of elapsed time, then she scores a zero on that concept. One shot to assess all her knowledge on this important concept. This is beyond ridiculous.

    I wonder, too, what system of checks and balances there are for these tests. I mean, what if there's a bad question? The world may never know.

    K. I think you get the picture. And I wouldn't be so frustrated about these tests if I didn't think in the near future my job might be hanging on them...

    Aside from this topic, I am very frustrated about how the people who make the decisions for educators are people who are not in any way related to the field of education... I mean, really...no child left behind (or as I affectionately call it No Teacher Left Standing) called for every child to master every subject by a certain date. EVERY child. :lol: Nuff said.

    It's getting late and my brain's all fuzzy, so I'll have to leave it at that, but I sure am enjoying this discussion! Thanks!!




    I understood that it was through personal experience- I just meant what criteria are you using to judge which teachers are good and which are lackluster...
     
  15. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I think we're on the same page here.

    There are 2 issues here. First, I don't think you should necessarily know which items are going to be assessed, because you shouldn't be teaching to the test, but to the general standards. The fact that the test only assesses a few standards is the practice of "sampling," which would indicate that the child's overall mastery of all the standards can be statistically estimated by assessing a smaller subset of the skills taught. If you knew the skills ahead of time, sampling wouldn't be possible. It's the same on tests teachers give - if you want your students to study all the material - not just the questions on the test - then you can't give out the test questions (or skills to be assessed) ahead of time.

    Second, it absolutely would be an issue if there are too many standards, or if those standards are way to high. But, in that case, the issue would not be knowing test content, but the "population" of material to be "sampled" being too large to be reasonable.

    I'm with you here. I haven't reviewed your specific test so I can't speak to the quality of item construction.

    Totally agreed, but I'd also consider that state tests aren't designed to measure mastery of specific skills, but mastery of content overall. So, maybe the child happens to get that question wrong on elapsed time, but happens to get a question on measurement of the perimeter right. The student may not have that skill 100% mastered, just the same as the student wouldn't have the skill of elapsed time 100% un-mastered. But, they even out (roughly speaking).

    This same issue comes up with intelligence testing. Basically, validity decreases as you drill down to more subsumed subskill areas. So, for example, subscale scores on working memory may not have as much validity or reliability as full scale IQ, but those working memory scores contribute to overall reliability/validity of the assessment when aggregated with other scores. When you drill down to item specific assessment, your reliability and validity goes through the window, but intelligence tests weren't constructed to provide item-level validity or reliability, just as state tests weren't constructed to provide reliability or validity with individual skills.

    I agree that there should be third-party validation of validity/reliability. Pearson (or whoever designed it) should be subjected to outside accountability/review for test construction.

    I definitely hear you. They shouldn't be used for that purpose, and it makes it hard to see them in any sort of positive light when they're being used so inappropriately.

    Oh, the funny thing about NCLB was when it was stated that 100% of children will be above average, or something to that extent, which is hilariously impossible if anyone with any intelligence thinks about it. Maybe I'm getting the quote wrong though.

    Yes, I hear you - it frustrates me too when non-professionals attempt to make professional decisions.

    Always a pleasure :)

    It's really as simple as observing the use of specific strategies given certain situations. What behavior management techniques are used in response to certain behavior problems? What reading interventions are used with particular struggling readers? How are data used to adjust instruction? When I consistently see a teacher making poor decisions in any (or all) of those areas, I question the competence of that teacher. On the other hand, if I see a teacher consistently using evidence-based strategies, but achieving low test scores, I'm more likely to conclude that s/he just had a really tough class.
     
  16. redtop

    redtop Companion

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    Apr 30, 2013

    I haven't had time to read all the replies since my last post. Let me make just two comments.

    Someone said "Standardized test scores measure how well you take standardized tests." There is a book that proves that statement, and my picture is on every page. In university I had a 2.4 GPA in my major - not 3.4, 2.4, on a 4-scale. Guess who had the highest score in the class on the senior comps, and by a lot? Guess what kind of test it was. (I got a 750, second-best was 700.) I got a 680 on a CLEP (College Level Examination Program) exam in a subject I didn't even take. Obviously the SAT was a cakewalk. So I believe it, entirely.

    The other comment is, that unlike other threads where I seem to think my opinion is the only one that matters, I started this thread because I'm really curious. This is a pretty significant topic, and I've never seen an actual discussion of it by rank-and-file teachers. I've seen Randi Weingarten (forgive me if I spelled her name wrong) saying how you can't measure teachers by test scores, but she can't go into it in a 4-minutes interview to explain just why in anything more than platitudes. I'm really interested in a mole's-eye view. I'll go back and read the rest of the responses soon.
     
  17. TeachTN

    TeachTN Comrade

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    Apr 30, 2013

    I can only respond with an example that proves why testing should not be used.

    I had an interim position in the fall in a middle school. Just last week, a student in that grade (was not my student) took her own life due to bullying. This information was discovered/released as the students were taking their state exams. You are 13/14 years old and find out one of your classmates has died, do you even care about that state test? I could have been the most amazing teacher all year, but 35-50% of my evaluation is based on that one exam that the students likely paid little attention to.

    Tests do not prove how teachers teach, they only prove how those students take that particular test. You cannot compare Johnny of 2012-2013 school year to Jack who was in my class in 2011-2012 school year, two completely different students.
     
  18. Cerek

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    How terrible for the student and for her classmates. I agree her friends didn't care anything about the test once they heard the news.

    I have a couple of other examples that, fortunately, are far less traumatic. Unfortunately, they are also far more common.

    Last year, I taught HS math at an alternative school during the last half of the year, including Algebra I, which is one of the major subjects for standardized testing.

    About 6 weeks before the test, I printed copies of the "released" test from NC and we spent two weeks working through every single question, or at least trying to. Only about 3 students out of 8 gave ANY effort at all during the study and review. The others literally could not have cared less. They basically spent the entire class each day socializing or just laid their heads on their desks and refused to look up. About a month before the test, the P asked me how I thought they were gonna do. I said "Right now, I don't expect any of them to pass but none of them are giving any serious effort to learning the material." She reminded me that 50% of my evaluation would be based on my test scores. I said "Yes, ma'am. I realize that. Unfortunately, these kids don't care at all how I do on my evaluation."

    My school earlier this year was very similar; the kids were very UN-motivated about learning and made very little effort at all, no matter what strategy I tried.

    If kids CAN'T learn the material, that's one thing, but when they just don't care about learning at all, there is only so much you can do to address that.
     
  19. EMonkey

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    Here is another example. I took the IOWA tests when I was in grade school. It was fairly similar to the tests we give today. I always have been a very good test taker. By the time I was in sixth or seventh grade I had learned the test was irrelevant, my mom still loved me no matter what, it made no difference in the work in class, or in report cards.

    I always liked doing comprehension tests and did not like the math part. I did the reading part and drew dot to dot pictures in the math part that year.

    I am not sure I would have made much more effort if I knew it would be used as a teacher evaluation. It never occurred to me that what I did in the class had any connection to the teacher of my class. I knew if I made a mess of work it was me making the mess so how would my mess be attached to the teacher. It would make no sense to me as a child.

    I guess part of this whole thing is the current social expectations where people keep trying to take away the responsibility and ownership of their choices from the children. Kind of the moms and the claim my angel is innocent someone else caused him/her to do that dead.
     
  20. MissD59

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    I said that. This might be the first time that you agreed with something I said! :thumb: Haha ;)

    Redtop, in all honesty, read my replies when you get a chance. Keep in mind that I'm posting them through the lens of a second grade teacher, and my opinions reflect standardized testing for the elementary grades. I think there are some points made that you likely haven't considered that might make you understand a teacher's perspective (especially an elementary teacher's).
     
  21. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I could always take tests with no problem. My wife (who took all pre-med classes in college) and I took the GRE. My scores were higher than hers and my degree was in PE (but I had tough classes in anatomy and physiology). I always liked taking tests and did them as fast as I could. I remember when teachers had that little grade book for us in school and it worked out fine before these mountains of paper to push to ensure children were being taught, assessed, evaluated, reinforced, assisted, re-evaluated etc etc etc.
     
  22. redtop

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    I still haven't had a chance to read the thread (sorry, will get to it) but two things:

    1) Yes, I am interested in what is being said here. I do want the perspective of people on the front lines.

    2) The last few comments though, seem to ignore a basic principle of what I spoke of earlier. Comparing John and Jill (teachers) based solely on the raw scores of John's class in Metropolis and Jill's class in Smallville is not sensible at all. We may not even be able to compare John and Jill teaching the same subject in the same school. But if each teaches a large enough number of students, can't we compare the scores of their students compared to what the same students scored a year ago? If John's students averaged 50 in 4th grade basketweaving and 51 in 5th-grade basketweaving, and Jill's students went from a 70 to a 69, can we conclude - limited by the statistical significance of the sample size - that John had the better year? Yes you could pick a million statistical nits, if 70 was the best score in the country for a 4th-grade class then Jill probably did fine as you would expect some reversion to the mean. Yes there will be outliers like the bullying case mentioned above.

    I hope - perhaps too optimstically - that neither teachers nor administrators are too uninformed about statistics or disingenuously ignoring statistical principles to make their case.
     
  23. EdEd

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    redtop, I would definitely go back and read comments, because I think some of your concerns are addressed in there.

    Regarding your second point, there are definitely more and less accurate ways of using state tests to measure teacher contribution. You have definitely identified a way to do things better than some folks do. Problem number 1 is that they don't do things the way you are suggesting (i.e., using a value-added approach). However, even when using a value-added approach, there is no way to control for other variables that may contribute to whether or not a teacher's class scores higher or lower, such as emotional issues, family issues, student intelligence, student motivation, school climate, etc. So, state tests can definitely tell us something about teacher performance. The problem is, we can't ever be sure whether state test results are due to teacher performance, other variables, etc. It would be unfair, then, to use those data to evaluate a teacher, given that teacher doesn't really have full control over the variable.

    Regarding your last point (teachers/administrators being uninformed about statistics) - I definitely agree that they are. Some teachers and administrators are, but many teachers and administrators simply don't have the training/background in advanced statistics to understand the math going on in the MET report, for example. I know I don't, even though I understand a few of the basic principles. For this reason, I've always disagreed with the statement that if teachers don't fully understand their evaluation system, they shouldn't have to be a part of it. In education, there are a variety of professionals that have responsibilities that others may not fully understand. An ESL teacher may have specialized knowledge, for example, than a school counselor may not have, and vice versa. Teachers also routinely use material in their classroom that they couldn't recreate and don't fully understand. How many teachers, for example, could build a SmartBoard? Does that mean it shouldn't be used?
     
  24. EdEd

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    One other comment - I'd suggest reading the MET report by the Gates Foundation. That definitely supports using state tests (a different conclusion than what I draw), but I get my data from that that report. Would be interested to hear your own take on the report.
     
  25. redtop

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    Let me add a few things, having read through the thread.

    1) Yes I am interested in what people have to say. I have given a little pushback on the statistical side, but that's about it.

    2) Could someone please explain what DIEBELS, MAP, and other types of assessments are?

    3) In order to get licensed in New Jersey, my wife had to sign a loyalty oath. I'm not kidding. This is not another licensing rant, but an affirmation of the fact that politicians will stick their noses into things that may sound good politically but have nothing to do with actual education.

    4) I had not really considered some of the issues of testing of very young children. I was "tested" before skipping the first grade, but I know it wasn't any kind of filling in bubbles thingy. It was some kind of session or sessions with the school psychologist.

    5) Now for the pushback. A number of posts here seem to say "We are good teachers because we say we are. You can't check our work, you have to take our word for it." That's not very satisfying. "We come in early, stay late, and spend our own money." Great. I come in late, stay really really late, and if my clients don't like my work I'll be on the next boat outta here. I've also heard (not on this board) teachers complain about being evaluated by subjective and biased principals who only see them once every five years (even while complaining how stressful the evaluations are). What would the consensus be about how to actually evaluate teachers, excluding the following: (a) tests and (b) taking their word that because they work hard, they add enough to their student's education to be considered as doing their job?

    6) Poll questions:

    a) What percentage of teachers do you think are doing such a poor job that they should be replaced?
    b) Of those, what percentage do you think will leave teaching, voluntarily or involuntarily, in the next 3 years?
    c) For the sake of argument, assume that 10% of teachers should be replaced. What would you think of a procedure that would require that 10% of all teachers now teaching be fired and barred from teaching again without demonstrating something significant has changed?

    7) I feel like there is a crazy and complex interaction here. In any profession, there will be a cohort who were "born to do it," a cohort who "drifted into it because they couldn't figure anything else out," and a cohort who chose it because somehow the mix of compensations, requirements, and individual circumstances made it the best choice for them. In my profession, the salary difference between the 90th and 10th percentiles of fully qualified individuals after 10-15 years is about 80-100%. In teaching it is much smaller, and in a given district it is probably about 10-15%. It's hard to get my hands around a profession where the people who work really hard and the people who coast make almost the same. I have no idea how teachers think about the 10-month workyear, but I know I wouldn't want to be forced to take two months of unpaid leave every year. (For those who say you need it after burnout, talk to an accountant or an actuary after April.)

    I don't want to say that I have heard someone say these things, but I would reject them if they were said: "If you're not a teacher you can't make judgments about us" and teachers always rising to the defense of other teachers. I sometimes feel that attitude, although I am not going to point to a specific post in this thread and say I heard those sentiments. I'm not a doctor but I have an idea what I expect from a doctor. I'm not a policeman but I have an idea what I expect from a policeman. (Alas, I doubt any of you can tell me what you'd expect from your friendly neighborhood actuary.)

    8) I will read the MET report in the near future.
     
  26. redtop

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    May 1, 2013

    I will not presume anyone reading this thread doesn't understand the statistics. But in case they don't, I will try to explain this like I'm talking to a 5 year-old.

    1) I wouldn't propose to measure performance of students in a teacher's classes, but rather how much better or worse they performed than they did a year ago.
    2) The more students you measure, the less likely it is that individual special circumstances will affect the outcome. Sometime in every teacher's career, their star student's parents will just have split up and the kid can't study or learn or test worth ****. But when you measure hundreds or thousands of outcomes, that effect will smooth out.
     
  27. TeacherGroupie

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    Your example is no proof that standardized testing is bogus. It's clear from the tenor of your posts on A to Z that you think of yourself as both smart and successful - certainly more successful and more in tune with what success really means than the audience to which you post. You're also impatient when it comes to details that you have decided are not important. I infer that your major wasn't accountancy, since it's hard to imagine a reputable CPA program admitting one in spite of a 2.4 GPA in relevant coursework; whatever it was, it almost certainly came to represent to you the sort of detail that you deem unimportant. I'll further surmise that you impressed the professors in your major field in much the fashion that you've impressed a good deal of the readership of A to Z. In short, the discrepancy between your GPA and your comps score reflects not the irrelevancy of standardized testing but what the educational psychologists call "failure to perform to potential". The fact that there's a label for it tells us how unique it is, or isn't.
     
  28. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    1. Families around here are incredibly mobile. I have students entering and leaving my classroom all year long. When students attend 3-4 schools per year, which teacher gets the credit/blame for their test scores? And how would you propose tracking these students from year to year to do the analyses?

    2. Where are you going to get these hundreds or thousands of students, especially for new teachers? An elementary teacher won't have taught even hundreds of students in the first 5 years.
     
  29. MissD59

    MissD59 Comrade

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    I have taken statistics before. You stated a key point: "IF EACH TEACHES A LARGE ENOUGH AMOUNT OF STUDENTS." You know that an elementary school teacher's sample size is much smaller than say, that of a middle school or high school teacher's sample size. As a result, the difference of a couple of students really does have an impact on the result. We have 19 students in our classroom.

    Last year, the teacher I work with had 2 students with IEPs in her room (special ed student). This year, we have 6. Now, how can you argue that the amount of special education students taking the state test doesn't have a substantial effect on an elementary school teacher's score from year to year? I already told you that these students are taking the same test as everyone else, even though it's a completely invalid assessment for them. These scores DO have an impact on the scores of the overall class performance, and ARE counted in the ratings system.

    There is no guarantee that this teacher will have 6 special needs students next year. The number may drop, or it may raise.

    Here's another important factor, as I've explained to you previously: special education in the United States has changed SUBSTANTIALLY in the past decade or so. You have students who are now in a general education classroom setting who never would have been a decade ago, they likely would have been in self contained or in some cases, not even in the "typical" public school.

    When special education is implemented correctly, these students are given TAs, modifications to the curriculum/materials, and a tremendous amount of assistance in some cases. For state tests, however, the students may have questions read to them (but NOT on the ELA), they may have scribes in some cases, but in the vast majority of the students they do not receive anything that resembles the accommodations that they have been receiving all year in the classroom.

    Special education is always changing, and the population of children is changing. Now, you asked me to not pick on any outside factors, but knowing math, and knowing that the sample size is only 19 children, how CAN you ignore this factor in statistics when comparing scores from year to year?

    Like we've all said, we're not against being assessed, it's just that the way that they are doing it.
     
  30. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    This is true, but over a multi-year average, when combining test scores with standardized observations and student rating scales, the correlation between a teacher's performance between one group of students and another (both taught by the same student) was only .69, meaning that the effect did not simply "smooth out." It did, but not enough to say that outside variables were negligible.

    In other words, yes - using really, really good procedures we can get closer to making statements about teacher performance. However, it isn't fair to hold a teacher accountable for an assessment unless they have complete (or relatively complete) control over the process. If you told me the correlations were .9 I'd be on board, even with the possibility that outside factors were contributing. However, .69 is too low in my opinion.
     
  31. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    The MET report definitely encourages a sample size over multiple years. So, it wouldn't be 19, but higher than that.

    In terms of special education population, that would be something that could potentially be controlled for through several ways, one being controlling for prior achievement.

    That being said, I'm with you in that I don't think the current evaluation procedures are good enough to control for those things. So, my argument is that evaluation via state test is hypothetically possible even with the issues you've presented (low sample size, SPED population variation, etc.) - we just need to figure out how.
     
  32. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I would suggest looking them up for a full description, but DIBELS measures basic reading behaviors (e.g., how fast a student can read, whether they can split spoken words up into different sounds) and makes statements about a student's reading based on those directly measured behaviors. The measures are also given more frequently (weekly, monthly, or quarterly) so they are less affected by issues that may impact one single day of testing. Directly measuring a student's reading behavior is also more "low-inference" because it doesn't attempt to give 5 problems and make really big statements about overall performance based on that info. DIBELS also provides immediate feedback to teachers for instructional planning

    MAP is more like a state test in that it asks multiple choice questions about broad curricula, and is computerized. Many folks have issues with MAP because one or two write/wrong answers can dramatically change results, and the difference in performance over an entire year can be as little as 5-7 points (again, which could be affected by a small number of questions).

    Totally agree with you here. What have you thought about those of us who have advocated for a more rigorous system of evaluation that is based on input as opposed to output or outcome? What did you think of my comments on the first page in response to how to measure a teacher's performance?

    I'm not sure you'll get any accurate answers here. Unless someone quotes a study, we'll all just be answering from our personal experience. What IS significant, though, is that some of us have experienced schools in which a number of teachers aren't doing as well as a teacher could given the circumstances. This doesn't equate to a number, but it does mean we shouldn't take teacher quality as a given.


    There's probably a survey out there somewhere, but again - you'll probably get wild guesses in response to this.

    How would this be operationalized? What if a school needed to fire 1 more teachers to meet the 10% quote, but the next lowest performing teacher was doing really well? What if a school needed to fire 25% of it's teaching force? I'm not sure a "firing quota" would ensure that good teachers stay or bad teachers go.

    A few issues here, but I agree with you. I think there should be multiple steps a teacher could take in his/her career without moving into administration or counseling, with those steps including pay raises.

    I agree you don't need to be a teacher to be part of the discussion, but you should have a working knowledge of education. Without such knowledge, it would be hard to levy expectations or understand how inputs lead to outputs.

    That being said, I do think that - while you don't need to be a teacher to be part of the discussion - teachers should be included in the discussion. I think many folks aren't arguing with politicians and administrators being a part of the evaluation process, because both are stakeholders in public education. The problem, as some see it, is that teachers were never included at any step. This isn't just an issue of being "fair," but of making sure the assessment is actually measuring variables that are important to instruction. Good teachers have a solid working knowledge of many of those variables.
     
  33. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    EdEd, you need to do a bit of study on that MAT report. It's a Gates Foundation project. Remember, Gates is one of the biggest contributors to efforts that bust unions, use test data to punish teachers/schools and other ineffective ways to improve schools.

    That MAT report has largely been discredited due to it's valuing consistently of results over validity. Gate is busy making the water muddy in his efforts to confirm his views of education.

    Maybe a test could be made that truly measures what a teacher should do for a student, but so far none exists.

    http://nepc.colorado.edu/blog/perils-of-favoring
     
  34. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 1, 2013

    :
    Ok...so you go to the doctor...he says take 2 tablespoons of this medicine twice a day..If you're not feeling better in a week or you have any adverse reactions, call me....and no one questions that....teachers are questioned constantly...in the media, by our state governments, and lately, sadly here on forums that are for teachers. How sad.


    And as for NJ... Welcome to the Garden State...we have beautiful beaches, the best tomatoes and blueberries, hikes along the Palisades, views of NYC and Lady Liberty...we are the home of Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen...We place high in many educational rankings...And we've got a governor with an ax to grind and a new state residency requirement for teachers....sorry, you're not getting too much empathy from those of us who teach here...this is not a state of whiners. We're Jersey strong.
     
  35. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Tyler, I know you're a Diane Ravitch fan and are probably referring to her critiques, and bloggers she references. To me, I'd take the report on it's merits, rather than considering what Gates has proposed or advocated. I'm not sure that I agree that it's been "largely discredited" - many folks across the country are basing teacher evaluation on this report, even if they shouldn't, so when you say it's been "largely discredited" do you mean by anyone other than a few folks?

    More specifically, how do you see it as having been discredited, beyond the conclusions that it draws? My original comments on the MET report indicated that I disagreed with the conclusions (e.g., we should use state tests to evaluate teachers), but do think there are some merits presented in terms of measuring teacher contribution. Specifically, I think the .69 correlation is nothing to laugh it. It's too low for evaluation, but suggests that more work could be done in the area.

    In terms of developing a test that could "truly measure what a teacher could do for a student," I agree that no one single measure could ever capture all learning that takes place. However, it is possible to get a good sense of "academic achievement" if the right combination of assessment measures are administered, but even still - I agree. It's hard to capture everything with one test.

    Finally, my initial point a few pages back was that - at present - we should look at teacher inputs (e.g., instructional practices used, interventions selected) rather than outputs/outcomes (e.g., student engaged time, test scores) because teachers do have full control over inputs. Would you agree?
     
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