Should your evaluation be based on your students' test scores?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Tyler B., Apr 11, 2014.

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  1. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Apr 11, 2014

    This is happening all over since President Obama's DOE requires this type of teacher evaluation in order to get a NCLB waiver. This is despite the fact that this has not worked well and the evidence suggests the practice is harmful.

    I suggest contacting your legislators and urge them to put a stop to the practice.



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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Apr 11, 2014

    Of course not. Students shouldn't be subjected to those types of high-stakes tests at all.
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Apr 11, 2014

    In Ohio, 50% of our evaluations are supposed to be based on student growth as indicated by pre- and post-tests. Because of how I teach, only 25% of my students took both tests. 87% of those students had the same or higher scores on the post-test. I'm not sure what part of this shows my effectiveness.
     
  5. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I don't have a problem with a portion of my evaluation being based on student test scores, when they're used to show student growth. If the system was "X% of your students must make this specific score or higher", then I would, but not just student growth. As I tell my kids, the state/district/whatever has the right to know that I'm not showing them Disney movies every day.

    If a pretest is given at the beginning of the year and the same test (or covering the same material) is given at the end, then my employer should be able to expect that SOME advancement will be seen. If overall, little to no advancement is seen, then what have I been doing all year?

    I do think systems need to exist for different populations. In my department, one teacher has all the Sped US History students. His students will not show as much growth as my students. That should not count against him. However, if his students show MORE growth than my non-Sped students, then yes, I would expect that to impact my evaluation.
     
  6. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    It's tricky. While I agree something should show growth, one test doesn't always do that. What about the kid who watched their mother die the week before the test? (Happened to one of my students three years ago). Or the kid who has to testify in court the week of the test? Or the kid who had a fight with his mom before school? These are all common things kids deal with, and they can't throw those out the window and focus on THE TEST. I have a hard time placing even 50% of my evaluation on a ten year old's performance once. Perhaps a portfolio would be a better option.
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I don't believe that 100% of the students showing growth should be the expectation with a goal tied to salary, but when the argument used above is the basis for not wanting to tie student growth measured by a test the argument becomes suspect. If 60% of the class fails to show growth, baring a huge community or school tragedy, statistically it would be unlikely that 60% of the kids in your class have some type of issue impacting their emotional state when testing.

    The reason that a portfolio is not necessarily a good option is that they can be manipulated in the same way grades could be manipulated. Independent work may not be shown in the portfolio depending on how the portfolio is gathered.

    While I hope most teachers wouldn't cheat the system, portfolios would offer more opportunities for this to happen being salary of the teacher is tied to the portfolio. Since we just saw a post about "would this be considered cheating", even in a situation where cheating is supposed to be reined in, it happens.
     
  8. KinderCowgirl

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    I think there are a lot of kinks to be worked out. The grades who do not have state standardized testing are in a bind in how to show growth. All of our teachers have 50% of their evaluation based on student growth. Different schools are using different measures-the librarian, early childhood teachers, special ed teachers, etc. are having a hard time figuring it out.

    We are using the Stanford test that they take in December in Kinder and then in May in 1st Grade. My problem is no one can tell me how growth is going to be calculated. We use percentiles-so if they scored in the 50% percentile in K and then again in 1st-is that growth? It's a harder test. And what about those kids who didn't take that same test last year-I have 3 that entered from private schools? Or the ones who scored in the 99% percentile? I have one student who came from another school and her scores from Kinder were vastly inflated-it said she was on a 3rd grade reading level. When she entered 1st the computer program we use placed her at beginning of 1st Grade. I can't show growth with her based on that specific data..

    No one has any answers for me. So I am genuinely scared to death that when they figure out how to calculate it-there won't be sufficient growth shown and even though I am "effective" in the instructional part that I'll have to be on a growth plan next year because of scores.
     
  9. Jerseygirlteach

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    I'd really be interested to hear another special ed teacher who feels comfortable with high stakes tests measuring his or her teaching ability. I'm never one to boast, but I put 100% into my lessons and I'm a d*mn good teacher. The gen ed teacher next door to me refers to me as "the miracle worker" because of what I get out my students. I've never had a bad evaluation - ever. However, the idea of my performance being measured by a high stakes test scares me to death. First of all, my students have good days and bad days - just like gen ed kids do but probably to a much more extreme level. For example, I have one kid who sometimes can be a focused little angel and sometimes will be throwing her desk in a tantrum. I have another student whose confidence goes from normal to a sobbing "I am the stupidest person alive and I can't do anything so please just let me put my head down." I never know which version I'm going get of these or any other of my students. Plus, tests just stress some of them out like crazy. And some of them are so used to failure that they don't even try. I gave the final assessment for my SGO (student growth objective) math and I had one kid who was done in 5 minutes. Why - because I was letting them read books if they finished early and he wanted to read his book. He's one of my most capable students but he failed miserably because the test just wasn't on his radar - and that's a reflection of my teaching ability? I don't feel that that's fair and I'd be interested to hear someone argue that it is.

    A series of mini tests - once every couple of weeks for 30 or 40 minutes - maybe I could get on board with that. The good and bad days my students have might even out and the pressure on them would be much lower.
     
  10. Loveslabs

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    Apr 11, 2014

    Fifty percent of our evaluation is based on student growth which is tested by four pretests and four post tests.

    I was surprised at how competitive I felt against myself. For example, if the goal was to increase by 20% then I was determined my class would increase by a minimum of 40%. I have been told before that I am a competitive and determined person, but this really proved it!!

    I am worried about the two post test my students still need to take. We have been doing a ton of testing and I believe my students are burning out. These kids are 7-9 years old and this is what they face.

    For example, the last week of March we gave a third quarter math test, two post tests that go toward my evaluation, a reading test, and two fourth quarter pretests. The next week was spring break. This week we have been testing for the gifted and talented program. The students had two days of 75 minutes of testing and one day of 45 minutes of testing.

    Next week we have to give four days of Iowa tests. The following week we have to give the state writing diagnostic. The students will also have to take tests in art and music so those two teachers can measure growth for their evaluations. The next week we have to give the math diagnostic. The next two weeks are when the students will have to take the post test that goes toward my evaluation. :dizzy:

    Then it is time to start fourth quarter post tests!!!!

    I don't mind my evaluation being based on growth, but I think the amount of testing is getting out of control.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 11, 2014

    Not going to count in my eval, but will on next years teacher...within my class I've got one kid who CST has denied testing who might be depressed/ manic depressive and will or won't pick up a pencil to write on any given day. Some days he is in the fetal position...yeah, kind of not a reflection of my teaching...
     
  12. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    And that's exactly the issue. The CONCEPT isn't off... states need to be able to check that teachers are teaching somehow, but the practice is still struggling. It's simply not feasible or fair to hold a special ed teacher up to a teacher who has nothing but Honors and AP students and say "well, Sally had 100% growth and you had 40%, so you must suck."

    I do think my district is attempting to combat this (and the "Mary's mom died" issue) by using 2 criteria- the district-written multiple choice exam (which sucks and we have rallied against all year) and a skills-based assessment that the specific team creates. This year, my US History team is judging student ability to analyze political cartoons. We gave the students a cartoon and a specific analysis form the first week of school and we've worked with cartoons throughout the year, analyzing probably 20 cartoons together, in small groups and individually. When I hand them the same form and a new cartoon in May, even the lowest students will show some growth. That will count equally to the exam- even though it's in a normal classroom setting and not a MC online test.
     
  13. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Apr 11, 2014

    Student growth data is 50% of our evaluations starting this year due to new state law. My district has decided that sped teachers will be rated on what percentage of students pass their IEP goals. I think it's very fair- I am thrilled that it won't be based on state testing. Some were arguing that it was okay for us to use standardized testing because it would be based on growth and not a percentage of kids passing. My problem with that is that my students are often so far behind that they wouldn't be able to show any growth on a grade level test. A 4th grader who reads at a K-1 level will not show growth on a 4th grade reading test even if he made a lot of progress from where he originally started the year.

    I was surprised that most other sped teachers in the district were upset about this system. A lot of teachers were saying that they've always written the goals high, so most will make progress but not pass. I'm new to the district, but I've always made my goals challenging yet attainable for my kids. There were some situations out of my control, such as kids who came from other schools with completely unrealistic goals, the kid who literally missed two months of school in the middle of the year, the kid who shows up only 2-3 days per week, etc. However, we're not expected to have 100% passing so there is wiggle room built in for these situations.
     
  14. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    In my district, SPED teachers are required to write their goals based on the curriculum a student will be tested on, so a sixth grader doing math on a second grade level is still expected to have math goals based on the sixth grade curriculum, with short-term objectives intending to build up to it. It is extremely rare for students to meet their goals in our district.
     
  15. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    My first district tried to tell us that, and we basically all refused. That's not individualized if you're just writing grade level standards on an IEP. I could understand it not being a fair situation if there were district mandates like that. However, there are no such expectations in my district. We have complete power to write goals as we see fit- the only thing the district cares about is that they are measurable and match the students' needs. I'm not sure why other teachers in the district have been writing the goals so high. One of them used to be in my position (he transferred to another elementary), and I know that's never been an expectation of my principal either, so I don't know where he got the idea that they had to be written too high.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I can see situations where a district may mandate something like this. If all special education students except the most severe are placed in general education classrooms with minimal support, it wouldn't make sense to have a goal written for 2nd grade level math for a student sitting in a gen ed math 6 classroom and multiple other students at other levels all needing instruction at various levels of modified curriculum.

    I don't agree with the practice, but I see how the district may believe it is more defensible if they won't place kids that far behind in a pull-out class for more intensive instruction at their level and won't put multiple special education teachers and/or paras in the general education classroom to give more intensive instruction to the students that are that far behind.
     
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